Cleveland wins funding, coaching to fast-forward mobility network build-out

Cleveland wins funding, coaching to fast-forward mobility network build-out
Fighting climate change by increasing transportation options among stated goals

A national nonprofit, City Thread, has selected Cleveland among a diverse cohort of cities to participate in the Accelerated Mobility Playbook technical assistance program designed to help fast-forward the build-out of their mobility networks. The application was prepared in partnership with the City of Cleveland and Bike Cleveland.

Communities chosen include Bainbridge Island, WA; Syracuse, NY; Gulfport, MS; Cleveland, OH; Milwaukee, WI; Tucson, AZ; Santa Rosa, CA; Petaluma, CA; and Indianapolis, IN.

Bike Cleveland will receive $50,000 in Accelerated Mobility Playbook (AMP) technical assistance from the nonprofit consultancy led by national mobility experts Zoe Kircos, Sara Studdard, and Kyle Wagenschutz. This assistance includes a community-specific mobility audit of the city’s current state of practice and an action plan for improved implementation and partnership.

All cities want safer and connected streets, and there’s a growing consensus that all road users must benefit. But until recently, cities have been stuck. City Thread offers a new model to help cities move forward together faster, making the most of local coalitions and avoiding the familiar roadblocks.

Building on the success of The Final Mile, which helped five cities build 335 miles of bike lanes in just two years, City Thread’s Accelerated Mobility Playbook (AMP) provides a roadmap for speeding project delivery, completing network-focused implementation plans, and conducting authentic community engagement.

Strengthening the relationship between elected leaders, municipal staff, grassroots, and philanthropic partners is key to any community’s success. With her experience in mediation, coalition building, partnership management, grantmaking, and fund development, Kircos helps build and guide teams throughout the process.

“Without clear and consistent communication, people feel disconnected from public planning processes, even when they support the intended outcomes,” Kircos said. “We help community, city and elected leaders identify a shared goal, and then keep everyone moving toward it while ensuring that folks stay informed, engaged and committed. The trust and goodwill these communities build is essential to getting things done.”

Each of the selected cities will receive a comprehensive assessment that positions them to accelerate their local mobility goals. By aligning public support, political will, and local ambition around a unified vision, cities can take decades off their planned implementation schedule.

“Cleveland is excited to work with City Thread to develop strategies and increase capacity to quickly build bikeways across the city,” said Calley Mersmann, Cleveland’s Senior Strategist for Transit and Mobility. “We are honored to be selected to receive this technical assistance, and look forward to working with and learning from the other communities in the cohort. In early 2023, the City will be launching a Mobility Plan process to improve walking, biking, and transit across Cleveland. Recommendations from City Thread will shape our implementation approach, with the goal of making quick improvements to bicycle connectivity on our roadways. With approximately 16 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Cleveland coming from the transportation sector, making it more comfortable, safe, and convenient to bike, walk, and ride transit is a key climate action strategy.”

“Bike Cleveland is excited to partner with the City of Cleveland and City Thread,” noted Jacob VanSickle, Executive Director at Bike Cleveland. “With new leadership across our city there is urgency for the rapid build-out of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as a strategy for improved community health, to address climate change, and improve safety on our roads. Our new mayor, Mayor Justin Bibb, campaigned on a platform of prioritizing people over cars, and his administration is laying a foundation to make significant changes on our streets. The AMP Technical Assistance will be a piece of the puzzle to build support and an action plan to connect our disparate bike network.”

Studdard said she and her colleagues look forward to celebrating each city’s commitment to remaking their streets, and all of the milestones along the way.  The public is invited to cheer the cities on.

“We hope everyone will follow City Thread over the next six months as each city develops its vision for mobility and follows the playbook to fast forward it to completion,” she said.

The Accelerated Mobility Playbook (AMP) is funded by Wend Collective and SRAM. To see a program FAQ, visit For more information, visit

Praise for the City Thread approach:
According to the Urban Institute, this approach “offers a unique model of philanthropic investment designed to shape municipal policy. In the five funded cities, it helped inform growing interest and support for cycling while aiding municipal leaders in shaping their goals.”

National groups like PeopleForBikes are highlighting the accomplishments of these cities, noting that this playbook can “help any city leader better understand and benchmark the outcomes of their own work.”

Learn more at

About City Thread:
City Thread is a national, non-profit organization working to connect people and communities. Since 2010, the City Thread team has led successful projects in communities and neighborhoods across the U.S. City Thread combines 50 years of experience in urban planning, marketing, communications, equitable public participation, fundraising, grantmaking, community engagement, strategic planning, and campaign management. City Thread brings a fresh perspective and skillset rooted in community engagement, project delivery, and political campaigns. The team includes a White House Champion of Change (2015, Obama Administration), a trained mediator, facilitator and communication coach, and an award-winning creative and community campaign organizer.

About SRAM:
SRAM is a manufacturer of innovative bicycle components founded in Chicago in 1987. SRAM has focused on innovative product development in all cycling disciplines. SRAM has also acquired some of cycling’s most exciting brands, including RockShox, Zipp, Quarq, TIME, and most recently adding Hammerhead and Velocio.

About Bike Cleveland
Bike Cleveland is the regions bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization. Representing over 1,000 members their mission is to create a region that is sustainable, connected, healthy, and vibrant by promoting bicycling and advocating for safe and equitable transportation for all. Since it’s founding in 2011 they’ve advocated for over 120 miles of bicycle facilities across Cleveland and educated over 75,000 people through our events and education programs.

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