Progress on the Swamp Rabbit Trail’s Cleveland Connection, which has been dubbed “the Paperclip” for its winding path, has been held up by questions over the Richland Way tunnel.
The tunnel is 17-18 feet wide and 10 feet high and allows for two-way traffic including pedestrian traffic, but has poor visibility and sight lines. Tourism director Angie Prosser and mobility coordinator Calin Owens during a recent City Council work session presented solutions to the DOT-owned tunnel, noting the options they have are limited.
The solutions included closing both lanes of traffic, or closing southbound or northbound lanes of traffic. The report presented to the council said the trail is not practical without modification of vehicular traffic through the tunnel.
“Cleveland Park has become a speedway,” Prosser said.
The primary staff recommendation was to close the tunnel to vehicular use, but council members noted that any impact on the Cleveland Connector will face opposition from community groups. In the past, Mayor Knox White said, officials had considered closing the tunnel on weekends.
Prosser suggested a trial run of closing the tunnel to traffic.
“No matter what we do, that impacts (a number of intersections),” said councilwoman Dorothy Dowe.