Cuyahoga Valley National Park Analyses
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Comprehensive Rail Study
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) has been operating in partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) since 1989 under a cooperative agreement. The railroad has been successfully developing and expanding services and ridership for the past 20 years along with NPS, which has been developing and expanding railroad infrastructure and facilities to meet the growing needs of CVSR.
This report details a comprehensive rail study for CVNP and CVSR. It articulates coordinated, prioritized transportation investments and short/long term management actions over the next twenty years, consistent with the park's general management plan, CVSR's recently completed strategic plan, and other park and stakeholder guidance. Coordinated improvements and management actions will accommodate more future riders; improve the passenger experience; allow more park visitors to explore CVNP without the use of a personal automobile; reduce operations, maintenance, and administrative costs; and position CVNP and CVSR to take advantage of highly sought-after funding opportunities.
Final Report, July 2013
Cuyahoga Valley National Park Comprehensive Rail Study (PDF, 3 MB)
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Boston District Parking Demand Analysis
Volpe is supporting the National Park Service’s (NPS) Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) in developing a safe and efficient transportation system. The 20,339-acre national park preserves and reclaims the rural landscape along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland in northeast Ohio.
The park contains several important transportation assets. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) has operated in partnership with CVNP under a cooperative agreement since 1989. CVSR is a private sector, volunteer-supported, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has successfully developed and expanded services and ridership for the past 20 years along with the NPS, which has developed and expanded railroad infrastructure and facilities to meet the growing needs of CVSR.
CVSR alignment is generally north to south along the banks of the Cuyahoga River, which is increasingly being used by kayakers and canoers. In 1993, NPS developed the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath, which is a popular multi-use trail along the historic route of the Ohio and Erie Canal through CVNP for both bicyclists and pedestrians. From the towpath, visitors can connect to several of the natural and historic sites in the park and to other trails that intersect it along the way.
This study—for which Volpe contracted the services of RSG, Inc., to provide the analysis—focuses on parking demand in the Boston district within CVNP. The Boston district includes a CVSR station, a CVNP visitor center, a café/gift shop, parking lots, access to the towpath, a handful of other buildings, and an adjacent ski hill.
The goal of this study is twofold:
- Analyze the current parking situation in the Boston district and determine if it is meeting demand on a typically busy day.
- Estimate the parking demand for a new visitor center and “transportation access point” that may be located in the Boston district in coming years.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Station Area Safety Study
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) has been operating in partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) since 1989 under a cooperative agreement. The railroad has been successfully developing and expanding services and ridership for the past 20 years along with CVNP, which has also been developing and expanding railroad infrastructure and facilities to meet the growing needs of CVSR.
With nearly 2.3 million visitors to CVNP in 2015 (making it the 11th most visited national park in the country), hundreds of thousands of visitors to CVNP interact with the scenic railroad, whether they are riding the train, participating in the Bike Aboard program, or only take pictures of passing trains or crossing the railroad’s tracks. Because of these interactions, which have been growing in recent years, CVNP and CVSR have become increasingly concerned with visitor safety along the railroad corridor and particularly in station areas.
Accordingly, CVNP and CVSR asked Volpe to analyze existing conditions and recommend specific, station-by-station safety improvements to implement in the short, medium, and long terms. Specifically, within each station area, Volpe will focus on the following:
- Grade crossings for all modes of transportation;
- Pedestrian and bicyclist traffic patterns;
- Effectiveness of current station area safety features;
- Boarding and alighting processes for all users; and
- Engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency response recommendations.
Passengers boarding a train at the Canal Visitor Center (Volpe).