Temporary rumble strips help peds in Cleveland sports complex

The Gateway Sports Complex in Cleveland features Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, and Quicken Loans Arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home court. The Lake Erie Monsters AHL Hockey team also plays at the “Q,” as does the Cleveland Gladiators Arena Football team.

Gateway Plaza, an open pedestrian area, connects the two facilities and a large parking garage. Larry Doby Way, (named after an Indian great; formerly Eagle Avenue) on Progressive Field’s north side, runs eastward from the plaza to East 9th Street, a major north-south road through downtown Cleveland.

Larry Doby Way sees an incredible amount of foot traffic; pedestrians cross it on their way to and from games. Drivers also use it to access the parking garage.

Prior to the 2012 baseball season, Todd Greathouse, executive director of Gateway Economic Development Corp., which owns and operates the complex, decided to make pedestrian travel on Doby Way even safer.

To make drivers more alert, more aware of pedestrians, Greathouse and crew investigated the use of plastic speed bumps. They discovered, however, that while drivers might pay more attention, a speed bump’s profile, about 2 in. high, could prove a tripping hazard for pedestrians, especially at night.

Also, speed bumps are permanent devices that require significant installation, removal and repair time and material. Greathouse just wanted to install a device before a game, and take them up after, with little time, equipment or damage to the road involved.

Greathouse decided to test Plastic Safety Systems’ RoadQuake Temporary Portable Rumble Strip. As the name implies, RoadQuake is a temporary device. No glue or adhesives are required. Installation and removal is fast, and no equipment is needed.

Secondly, at 13/16 in. high, less than half the height of a speed bump, pedestrians would negotiate RoadQuake better than a speed bump. To ensure visibility at night, Greathouse requested the manufacturer add reflective material to the strips.

Once installed, RoadQuake performed well. Greathouse and crew observed that pedestrians did not trip over the rumble strips. Visibility, or lack of it, did not appear to be an issue at all.

More importantly, Greathouse knew, as he drove a golf cart over an array of strips, that drivers would be more alert, paying more attention to their surroundings.

He and his crew watched drivers as they crossed over the arrays.

“First, you could see drivers thinking, ‘What was that?’” said Greathouse, “but when they approached the next set of strips, they just slowed down.”

Goal accomplished: the rumble strips alerted drivers and made them slow down, which enhanced and improved safety for pedestrians crossing Larry Doby Way.

Greathouse now plans to use the temporary rumble strips year-round. First, drivers no longer speed down Doby Way. Second, when the snows come, Gateway can just pull RoadQuake up, plow the road, and put them right back down.

And as far as Cleveland baseball goes, well, we’re waiting for next year.