Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Sidaway Bridge - a modest reality check-in....

With this blog, perhaps my shortest or at least my most graphically humble one on the Bridge, as well as fontistically diverse? :) [couldn't equalize the fonts, so help me software Gods!] I want to relight the small flame I lit in 2011 and on several occasions since then, with a very partial focus on three aspects that constitute much of the status of the bridge at present - who owns it, proposals for its large-scale renewal and efforts to stabilize it, with that last aspect more of a reminder.

As for what I will not do here - and admittedly limiting myself to a literal year-end deadline of what I CAN do digitally - I've long had a saying - "make me jealous and make me happy" - i.e., if there's something where I'd probably say "damn, I shoulda done that" - if you do that - whether it is mounting a major grassroots campaign for the bridge, for a bike or other trail including it, if you are the artist who makes it the unbelievable art work of which I dreamed in 2011 and earlier, whatever can advance the full preservation of its beauty and heritage on-site, I look forward to applauding you and walking on a renewed span!!!


Ownership - I have long assumed that the bridge has just been owned by the City of Cleveland since its transfer to the city from the legendary Nickel Plate Railroad in 1930. This still seems very likely, but interestingly, there was no clear easy (digital) answer - before one of you may just take an easier course and get an ownership document from a friend in either Cleveland City Hall or Cuyahoga County:).

In short, neither a Cuyahoga County data base I checked or a County employee I spoke with by phone could supply a notation for who owns the bridge, while the site "bridgehunter.com" notes that it is owned by the City. [footnote 1, while I would also note my introductory comment regarding all three footnotes below but especially that one:)!]


Overall, my sense of any feelings for the bridge on the part of its caretakers, while in part as a "guesstimate", is that they are neither actively caring or uncaring, thanking God for the latter if that is correct, and indeed, one expression of "City" sentiments at least, just below, has been positive.


Proposals - In 2011, the only serious proposal I saw, knowing there may have been others, was for a bike trail either including the bridge...or not :( --  as noted in my blog at the time, at
http://silverstravels.blogspot.com/2011_09_01_archive.html, both near the beginning under "Abbreviations" (see "K-Run..." and "K.Run Project" within them) and near the end under "Good signs of a greener and more sustainable bridge area" [footnote 2].

In very recent days, I have discovered that in the “Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan”, the City in recent years appears to have endorsed the rehabilitation of the bridge in connection with enhancements through public art and displays to interpret the history of the Kingsbury Run. [footnote 3]



Stabilization of the Bridge - Readers of my "big blog" of Sept. 2011 may remember its "Appendix 7 - A 2004 Structural assessment of the Bridge", near the end, where one of the conclusions of Case Western Reserve University students working under engineering Professor Dario Gasparini was of simply cleaning the trash around the bases of the bridge, and - less $$imply - one might add - clearing loose rust from it and coating it with "an anti-corrosion primer."

Here, I could only add - hoping I'm off-the-mark in a sense - that no maintenance that I know of has been done on the bridge since it was shut down in the 60's, and that the cleaning of brush, etc., would be great, and even better if citizens and civil servants can see their way to elements such as a summer-jobs program and perhaps a temporary pop-up park or trial run of a walking trail in the green space under and close to the bridge!



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Footnotes

I have loved numerous un-smelly footnotes for many years now, but, at least here, recommend them only for fellow research lovers, given in part the unexciting, if interesting, inconclusiveness:) just below.....


Footnote 1. One of the main sources on the bridge's history may still remain the 1978 "HAER" (Historic American Engineering Record) report by Carol Poh Miller, which notes the ownership transfer of the bridge from the Nickel Plate RR to the City and states the 1978 owner as the City [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/oh/oh0000/oh0010/data/oh0010data.pdf].

As for trying a decisive digital check 36 years later (!), the bridge's address, at at least two sites, is stated as 2899 Sidaway Avenue, and when I  put in that address at

http://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/AuditorApps/real-property/REPI/default.asp, I came up with nothing, either when I entered  “2899” under “House Number:” and “Sidaway Avenue” under “Street Name:” --OR-- when I entered “2899 Sidaway Avenue” under “Street Name:”  In both cases, for “City:” I chose “CLEVELAND EAST/RIVER” from a drop-down menu.

Another interested party here is RTA (or GCRTA/Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority), and when I googled “Sidaway Avenue - parcel number”, I got information, while not definitive and hard-to-understand, that RTA owns land at "6880 Sidaway Avenue". [Glad you and I noticed that "6880" is not "2899" (brilliant:)!), but remember, that short of a solution here, that Sidaway is roughly a n/s street north of the bridge and an e/w street south/southwest of it.]

One of the "6880" notations I saw came from http://www.dot.state.oh.us/projects/ClevelandUrbanCoreProjects/OpportunityCorridor/Documents/ROW%20Impact%20Table.pdf, a listing done through the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) of many sites on or near the path of the proposed "Opportunity Corridor" - a boulevard concept noted in my Sept. 2011 writing which is likely to be realized as a link between an eastbound freeway very close to the bridge with Cleveland's University Circle "Eds/Meds" concentration to the northeast of the bridge area.

On the list's second page of tiny, hard-to-read (and unmagnifiable) text, "6880...", on the sixth line down, is noted as parcel number 12513001 and further information indicates that there were no structures there requiring relocation and also speaks of “Permanent R/W" and "Temporary R/W”[?], with my wanting at some point to ask about those latter R/W aspects.

Happy to finally have a parcel number, with that presumably easing many real estate searches, I went back to http://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/AuditorApps/real-property/REPI/default.asp and reconfirmed that RTA owned 6880 Sidaway while also seeing that, perhaps contrary to what is implied at the ODOT list, that “total buildings” are stated as "1", so I do not know if that refers to the bridge itself while, from the immediate context there it could refer to the car barn under the bridge in the valley of the Kingsbury Run, although it was torn down sometime ago (I believe in the late 70’s).

Yesterday (Tues., Dec. 30), I made the phone call noted above to the County map room (at 216-443-7091), speaking with an employee there at about 9:55am; he found no listing for the bridge, and his 6880 Sidaway listing noted a building but not a bridge, but I would say that extra probing is essential here.


Footnote 2. As for Sept. 2011's "A Suspension Bridge in Cleveland", thank you for bearing with an unpaginated blob-like blog:), length-wise, and with my being glad to help you out if you contact me through this site.

Footnote 3. See http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/gisphp/devopList.pdf
where in a listing of  “Development Opportunities” under the classification of “Arts & Culture”, there is a further listing for places and structures within a "3rd district" of the City of Cleveland, and within which a specific notation for project no. 3.A.9 - the “Sidaway Pedestrian Bridge (at the intersection of Sidaway Avenue and East 67th Street)” adds the conclusion of a “rehabilitation of and opportunity for public art and interpretive history of Kingsbury Run ravine”.




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