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Unique Revitalization of Uptown Cleveland

By: Drew Snoply, Unilock Commercial Sales

Five miles from downtown Cleveland, lies University circle, home to a collection of popular institutions including: Case Western Reserve University, the new Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Music, University Hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Museum of Natural History, all within walking distance of each other.

In 2011 the Uptown development project broke ground on the first of a three-phase project spearheaded by a private development company in conjunction with the City of Cleveland, Ohio and the Cleveland based civil engineering firm, The Riverstone Company. From the initial design schemes, Unilock® was involved with the project team to bring innovative, durable, and cost effective site solutions to the project. Phase one involved the installation of 35,000 sq.ft. of Unilock permeable industrial pavement Eco-Optiloc™, in the parking lot of the Uptown Beach Apartments.

(Above Picture: Eco-Optiloc)

Phase two called for a new roadway in the form of a paver alleyway and sidewalks, which would bridge the entire complex together with surrounding retail areas. Unilock was asked to recommend solutions to the project team based on the design objectives. These included a paving stone that was linear and narrow in shape, in custom grey tones, with a surface finish that would not experience color loss or effects from abrasion. As well, the entire pavement surface needed to be permeable to infiltrate and treat storm water.

(Above Picture: Promenade Plank Paver, Series 3000® finish)

Unilock suggested a 4″x16″x4″ paving stone from their Promenade™ Plank Paver series, providing the shape and module the design team desired. The next step was to pick a surface finish that would resist the long-term effects of UV degradation as well as the everyday environmental effects that take their toll on any hardscape solution. Unilock’s Series 3000® paver finish was the answer to this dilemma. Series 3000 is manufactured using Unilock’s EnduraColor™ Plus manufacturing technology, resulting in a paving stone that is color-fast, highly abrasion resistant, and substantially stronger than poured in place concrete.

The custom grey colors were created by Unilock, in conjunction with the design team, giving the project the right tonal balance while paying attention to the surrounding context of the project. Unlike traditional concrete pavers, Series 3000 receives the majority of its color and texture from specialty aggregates like quartz, marble, and granite chips, allowing for subtle color changes and an extremely durable surface.

(Above Picture: Promenade Plank Paver, Series 3000 finish)

Once shape and finish were identified, the final step was to create a permeable pavement. The solution brought forth by Unilock was a plastic spacer (distributed by Unilock). These vehicular grade plastic spacers were placed during installation of the paving stone for a consistent offset creating openings to allow water to infiltrate. Instead of using sand in the joints, an ASTM #9 chip was used in the voids to allow storm water to be transmitted vertically while being filtered.

The Uptown Alleyway project covers approximately 65,000 square feet of both vehicular and pedestrian areas. As a City of Cleveland project, this is the city’s first permeable public roadway. The concept of the alleyway is a unique design approach that allows for the control of vehicular traffic on the roadway portion of the project. Removable traffic bollards can be implemented in order to shut the alleyway down to vehicular traffic turning the entire area into a pedestrian scale environment suitable for public gatherings and events.

Phase three used the same product and grey colors in a configuration that delineates the roadway and pedestrain space. MOCA is now connected to the uptown attractions and amenities, transforming the urban zone into a flourishing, eclectic, arts and entertainment district.


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