BUILD­ING ON BROAD­WAY

Lorain Bet­ter Block street fest to pro­mote safety for walk­ers, cy­clists

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Richard Pay­erchin

There will be a new way to view down­town Lorain on May 19.

Lorain Bet­ter Block, a street party show­cas­ing how Broad­way could be­come safer and eas­ier to use for walk­ers and cy­clists, runs from noon to 8 p.m.

The event will take place be­tween Fifth and Eighth streets.

“Things are good; we’re a go,” said Eric New­some, an event coplan­ner work­ing with the Lorain Proud ef­fort of the Lorain His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

Lorain Bet­ter Block is a col­lab­o­ra­tion spon­sored by Lorain

“We’re en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple, if you’re lo­cal here in Lorain, to walk or bike to the event.”

— Eric New­some, an event co-plan­ner

County Pub­lic Health, with par­tic­i­pa­tion of nu­mer­ous spon­sors and ven­dors.

“A ‘bet­ter block’ is a street de­signed for users of all ages and abil­i­ties, and it gives wel­com­ing vibes and a sense of com­mu­nity,” ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial event de­scrip­tion.

Par­tic­i­pants can ex­pect bet­ter cross­walks, im­proved light­ing, tem­po­rary bike lanes, im­proved walk­ways and more seat­ing.

“Bik­ing and walk­ing are healthy, easy ways to get around,” said Lorain County Pub­lic Health Com­mis­sioner Dave Covell. “Since more peo­ple choose to walk and bike in our com­mu­nity, we need to work to­gether to make sure that the streets are safe for all road users.”

The fam­ily friendly event is free and open to the pub­lic. “We want every­body there,” New­some said. “I think the big­gest thing right now is to make sure every­body knows we don’t have a backup date. The event Satur­day is rain or shine.”

Prepa­ra­tion will start at 4 p.m., May 18, and Broad­way is closed to through traf­fic from Fifth to Eighth streets until 8 p.m. that day.

Plan­ners will use tape and chalk paint to re­con­fig­ure the north­bound lanes and park­ing spa­ces of Broad­way.

Cars will can drive through the area on May 19, but driv­ers should note there will be more walk­ers and cy­clists present.

“We’re en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple, if you’re lo­cal here in Lorain, to walk or bike to the event,” New­some said.

“We strongly en­cour­age mo­bile folks to walk or bike in­stead of drive,” he said.

New­some added, “That said, cars are wel­come,” with park­ing on Broad­way and Black River Land­ing dur­ing the event.

There will be spe­cial park­ing for bikes and some bi­cy­cles to bor­row for peo­ple who can’t bring their own.

There are at least 32 con­firmed ven­dors and 21 planned “parklets,” or minia­ture parks cre­ated for Lorain Bet­ter Block.

There are 16 Broad­wa­yarea mer­chants plan­ning the Down­town Lorain Shop Walk from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Shop­pers and browsers can get a shop walk pass­port that the store own­ers will val­i­date.

Any­one who vis­its at least eight shops and gets their pass­port stamped will be el­i­gi­ble for a raf­fle at the par­tic­i­pat­ing busi­nesses.

At­ten­dees who want to just sit will get a chance on 16 benches built by Lorain High School stu­dents, who cut, drilled and as­sem­bled the seats from do­nated twoby-fours.

The benches are stained brown for a rus­tic look and some will have a rel­a­tively light stain, said teacher Ron Sturgill.

“They sit pretty good for a ba­sic bench,” Sturgill said with a laugh.

“Bik­ing and walk­ing are healthy, easy ways to get around. Since more peo­ple choose to walk and bike in our com­mu­nity, we need to work to­gether to make sure that the streets are safe for all road users.”

— Lorain County Pub­lic Health Com­mis­sioner Dave Covell

RICHARD PAY­ERCHIN — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Lorain High School schol­ars Ja­son Chavez, a ju­nior, and Noelia Men­doza, a fresh­man, take a break from study­ing cli­mate con­trol sys­tems to as­sem­ble one of 16 benches for the Lorain Bet­ter Block event sched­uled for May 19, on Broad­way in Lorain.

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