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A guide to active transportation in University Circle

Marc Lefkowitz  |  07/27/16 @ 10:00am  |  Posted in Biking, Transit, Walking

Active transportation, writes the Ohio Department of Transportation, is:

"Human-powered transportation that engages people in healthy physical activity while they travel from place to place.

People walking, bicycling, using strollers, wheelchairs/mobility devices, skateboarding, and rollerblading are engaged in active transportation.

Active transportation supports transit use, since many people reach transit stops using active travel modes.

The benefits of active transportation include reducing health risks associated with hypertension and heart disease, lower carbon emissions and a cooler planet, supporting investment in local community, and saving money on transportation."

Cyclists using Euclid Avenue bike lane<br />Hessler Court<br />All images: GCBL<br /><br /><br />The Lake to Lakes Trail<br /><br /><br />New walking path bridges on MLK Drive<br />RTA HealthLine in University Circle<br />Sharrows on East Boulevard<br />Chinese Cultural Garden<br />New RTA Red Line station at Cedar-University<br /><br />New Red Line station at Little Italy<br />

A Guide to Active Transportation in University Circle

Biking for transportation

A network of bike lanes and “sharrow” marked streets is starting to be built in Greater University Circle. The presence of cyclists has increased (+238% since 2000) in Cleveland. The Circle is one of the more popular destinations. On any given day, hundreds of bike commuters (1% of the Heights population) cruise into the district. All are ambassadors for Sharing the Road.

Bike lanes—in or near University Circle:

  • Euclid Avenue: Between Case (Adelbert Road) and Cleveland State University (E. 22nd)
  • Edgehill Road: Little Italy (Murray Hill Road) to the top of the hill
  • North Park Boulevard: Lee Road to Fairhill

Sharrows—University Circle:

  • East Boulevard: Between Euclid Avenue and E. 105th Street (and between E. 105th and Superior)
  • Cornell: Between Euclid and the Edgehill bike lane
  • Edgehill: Top of Hill to Euclid Heights Boulevard
  • South Woodland: Between Richmond Road and Van Aken Boulevard
  • Larchmere: Between N. Moreland and MLK Drive
  • MLK Drive: Between Larchmere and Fairhill

Download a map of bike routes in Greater Cleveland

Location of bike parking (aka “bike racks”) 

  • MOCA
  • Cleveland Museum of Art (in front near the parking deck)
  • Case campus (most buildings)
  • Uptown (behind Constantino’s)
  • CMNH (front and garage)
  • Wade Oval
  • Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cinematheque
  • Cleveland Institute of Music
  • University Hospital (UH Drive garage)
  • Cleveland Clinic (inside all parking garages)
  • RTA Rapid stations and bus stops on Euclid
  • Parking garage at Ford and Euclid

Bike Share

Bike share is a self-serve, pay-by-the-hour bike rental service located in and around University Circle and downtown Cleveland. Walk up to any kiosk, swipe your credit card, and go. No pre-approval, no wait. Cleveland’s bike share is sponsored by University Hospitals and is open to the public. Locks are supplied with the bike. You can lock up at any location, or leave the bike at a kiosk near your destination for the next customer. Bike share kiosks and bikes will be available in University Circle by the fall of 2016. Check UH Bikes for updates.

Other resources

Case installed five, self-serve bike repair stations. If you need some air, to change a tire, or tighten a loose part, tools are always available at these bike fixit stops. Click here for a map of locations.

Car share
 and ride hailing services

Occasionally, you may take transit to work but get scheduled into a meeting off campus. What are your options?

Uber or Lyft are ride hailing services in Greater Cleveland. Like a taxi, cars can be “hailed” to your location, usually within minutes, using a mobile phone. You can get a fare estimate before booking a ride; fares are usually lower than a taxi.

Car share is a self-serve rental option. Log on from a computer, sign up, then book a car (by the hour). Zip Car has cars available to the public on Case campus at the Ford and Euclid public parking garage. Enterprise is offering car share, but currently to Case, Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland Institute of Music students and faculty only. Credit card and driver’s license required.


University Circle rewards those who explore it by walking. Dining and entertainment destinations, grand architecture, shady lanes, grassy fields and new experiences are just steps away. WalkScore ranks University Circle "very walkable," noting that an average of nine bars and restaurants are within a five minute walk.

Here are some ideas for a walk in the Circle:

Wade Oval - the walking path on the oval is perfect for a quick workout. One circuit is around 600 steps; three laps equals 1 mile.

The Wade Lagoon – where people (and feathered friends) flock for the walking path, views of the art museum and the Circle’s big water feature. You may spot a loon, a heron, a small forest of trees in bloom, sculpture, fountains, chalk drawing, wedding couples and paths weaving through the Arts Garden.

Rockefeller Park – complete the circuit from the Lagoon with a quick jaunt by the newly restored Chinese Cultural Garden and The Temple-Tifereth Israel (with the golden dome). The walking path in MLK Drive features new pedestrian bridges near the cancer survivor monument. End with a visit to the Victor Schreckengost Mammoths and Mastodons sculpture wall and new Sears Garden at the back of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Bellflower Court – stroll on a pedestrian-only lane that starts behind the Case Law School and meanders behind the Circle’s top chef locales and popular patio bars. A fine place for a slow walk.

Hit the (wood) bricks – another great walk so tucked away that cars rarely go is Hessler Court. Check out the wood brick pavers and the “chalet,” stroll down Hessler Road, one of the coziest streets in the area, and try to find the hidden walking path to Uptown and Constantino’s, the full service grocery store in the Circle.

Brick lined, part 2 – for more of that old world feel, keep walking east past Uptown and the gleaming new CIA building, sidewalk cafes and hip bars. Pick up a pastry at Coquette and duck down E. 117th, a brick-lined street with charm that loops back to Ford and Bellflower (past the Starbucks at the Village at 115 – keep an eye out for the “cigar cutter” sculpture).

Uptown Alley – The place to stroll, see and be seen (while enjoying a Mitchell’s ice cream). A pedestrian only zone means you can play Pokeman Go, check out the latest show at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), take out lunch, kick up your heels on the lawn or grab a table overlooking the action.

East 115th – don’t stop now. Across Mayfield from Uptown, take a walk down a street that feels lost to time. East 115th is lined with trees, neat Victorian and Colonial homes and unique views of University Hospital tucked between Mayfield and Cornell.

Summer farmer’s markets – On Wednesday make a special trip to the Cleveland Clinic campus for the farmer’s market at E. 100th Street green. On Thursday, get your locally grown produce and fresh lunch options at the farmer’s market in front of University Hospitals at Adelbert Road. Both are operated by North Union Farmer’s Market (same as the Shaker Square farmer’s market on Saturday mornings).

Winter – take a quick jaunt over to the art museum and have your spirits lifted inside the atrium and permanent galleries (free).


If you need to travel off campus, and don’t want the hassle of driving and finding parking, transit is an option. The HealthLine, a bus-rapid transit line, provides a direct link between University Circle and downtown Cleveland on Euclid Avenue every 15 minutes (5 minutes during rush hour) with stations at Cornell and Adelbert roads. Purchase a ticket with a credit card or cash from the ATM-like machine while you wait.

The Red Line Rapid is another option. A new station opened at Mayfield Road and E. 119th Street (in Little Italy) in 2016. The free, “BlueLink” (CircleLink) shuttle bus provides door-to-door connection to the station from the Museum(s). For a “live” schedule of RTA Rapid and HealthLine download Transit app for mobile devices. For real-time tracking of the CircleLink, download the NextBus app or follow it on your computer.

For more details on commuting by transit and bike, check out the Getting Around page posted on the UCI website. Or, consult the RTA schedule and maps.

Recreational biking

Biking in and around University Circle is a fun way to see and connect to major attractions. With off-road paths, cycling is also safer for the casual ride, including:

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens and The Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (formerly Dike 14) via the Harrison-Dillard bike trail in Rockefeller Park. There is a trailhead located in the park on MLK Drive behind the Museum. Facing northwest from the new Sears Garden, cross E. 105th Street at the VA Hospital and the path is next to the public tennis courts. (note: The path ends before the Shoreway on/off ramps. Cyclists must dismount and use sidewalk on the West side of MLK Drive to access the park)

Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway spans the entire length of Cleveland’s 17-mile Lake Erie shoreline from the city’s eastern border with Euclid to its western border with Lakewood. The path connects with University Circle at Rockefeller Park’s northern end. Update: The lakefront path was repaved in 2016 between The Rock Hall and Rockefeller Park (there is a small segment of the path still to be repaved around the yacht club).

Beautiful Bratenahl is for the adventuresome. Take the MLK bike path to Dike 14 and head east on Lakeshore Boulevard. Climb the hill and you will soon be rewarded with a scenic and beautiful ride on the tree-lined boulevard dotted with mansions from Cleveland’s Gilded Age. New in 2016: Lakeshore Boulevard between Bratenahl and downtown Euclid (E. 185th Street) has been repaved and a bike lane added. It’s much smoother and calmer with the new configuration (4 lanes to 3. Impress your friends and tell them, “Lakeshore got a road diet and now has bike lanes.”).

The Lake to Lakes Trail is 3-mile off-road bike path that connects Lake Erie, University Circle and the trail network at Shaker Lakes. Dual purpose for transportation or recreation, the trail provides a complete off-road connection between Shaker Heights and the Shaker Square area to University Circle (it links up with the Harrison-Dillard bike trail in Rockefeller Park).

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