I am forever amazed how Lorain County bankruptcy clients bristle when they find out they have to go to Cleveland for their bankruptcy meeting of creditors. The most common responses are:
- Why don’t they do these in Lorain County
- I don’t do Cleveland
- I don’t like highway driving
- I don’t like driving in Cleveland
- I’ve never been outside Lorain County
There Are No Creditor Meetings in Lorain County
Many local residents consider Lorain County to be the center of the universe. After all, there is a court system and a brand new justice center. Why can’t they have Creditor meetings there? The fact is that Lorain County is younger than the federal district court system. Lorain County was carved out from the border between Erie and Cuyahoga counties to deal with growing business and population around the Black River. At time the Federal court system was already located in Cleveland, Ashtabula, Youngstown, Akron, Canton and Toledo for northern Ohio.
Creditor meetings for Lorain, Geauga, Lake and Cuyahoga Counties are in Cleveland.
You never go to Cleveland
Cleveland is the major metropolitan area in our region. It is home to the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers. Playhouse Square hosts live theater. Severance Hall is home to the Cleveland Orchestra. There is a lot going on in Cleveland and it boggles my mind that you could be here a lifetime and never go to Cleveland. Historically there may be a valid reason for this mindset. For many years there were no bridges over the Rocky River and the Cuyahoga River. Travel east of the Rocky River was very difficult by horseback, or wagon. Transportation was by water. That eliminated the casual visitor. That was a long time ago.
There are now highways and bridges into the City of Cleveland
There are now 3 interstate highways that will get you to Cleveland from the western suburbs and Lorain County. You can use interstate 90, 480, 71 and 77. The easiest by far is I 90. If you are just popping into town for a brief creditor meeting I suggest leaving your car at the Brook Park RTA Rapid station and take the train into the city. The fare is less than parking and the downtown station is across Public Square from the courthouse where the meetings are held in Cleveland.
Most clients want or need to drive to Cleveland.
Many clients want to drive to Cleveland for their bankruptcy meeting of creditors. Normally this is so they can go to work afterwards. For the unlucky majority that need to drive I am going to give you a primer on the rules of highway driving to get you there in one piece. We all know about traffic control devices right? Stop lights, stop signs, speed limit signs, you get the idea. Everyone knows about these. They give warnings that are good to follow for diving. There is another class of traffic control device that I bet you don’t even know are included in the term. These are the lines painted on the road. In Ohio these are traffic control devices as well. I will bet that you don’t know what they mean. I think the only people who do are the police, guys that paint them and former prosecutors such as myself who have read the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Yes there is a book about them! It will never be a best seller.
It’s all about the lines
Most roadways in Ohio have two line colors, yellow and white. Of these there are two classification of each, solid lines and broken lines. A solid line is one that you may not cross. A solid yellow line will be to your left and someone much smarter than you or I decided that crossing it will pose a danger to your well being. You will normally see a solid yellow line to you left while driving. It will mark the left boundary of your lane or lanes of travel. Often if you cross it you will slam into a concrete lane divider. For undivided highways it keeps you from running head on into approaching traffic. A solid white line means that traffic traveling in the same direction as you should stay in their lane of travel until the line is no longer solid. You will most normally see this line dividing lanes in a construction zone, approaching an exit ramp, or to the right side of the roadway.
Broken lines are ones that you can cross if you can do so safely. White broken lines are often lane dividers going the same direction on an interstate highway. Yellow broken lines separate traffic lanes going in opposing directions. A yellow broken show an area where visibility is such that it may be safe to overtake and pass a vehicle in your lane by crossing to the lane for opposing train to make the pass safely and then to get back into your lane safely and without delay.
Highway drivers ignore lines
The real problem with highway driving especially going into Cleveland is that most motorists seem to think that the lines on the road are pretty decorations and certainly not intended to affect them. Drivers continually ignore solid white lines and cross them illegally to cut off other drivers. On the run to Cleveland on I-90 you will see this guy at the lane split for the inner belt bridge. It’s all for them. The fact there are bad drivers out there means that it is all the more important you understand the rules and follow them. It is called defensive driving.
Remember The Following Distance
While I am on the topic of defensive driving, be aware of the distance of the vehicle ahead of you. Reality is that your safe following distance is an invitation for the ever-increasing aggressive drivers to fill in that space. All you can continue to do is back off to maintain that safe stopping distance as best you can. When traffic abruptly stops (and it will) you will be glad for the space. The most common accident you will see on the ride to Cleveland is a rear end collision. Those are the people who dive the interstate like they are NASCAR drivers. They ride the bumper of the person ahead so no one else can move into the space. Racecar divers have carbon fiber disc brakes that allow them to stop on a dime. You don’t so take the safe choice.
Sadly you can only control the distance to the car ahead of you. There is little you can do about the guy behind you. My experience is that if I am going at a reasonable pace leaving the correct distance ahead, I will have a person behind me doing the same thing. Aggressive motorists don’t want a driver ahead of them who backs off when the forward space gets smaller. For them it’s a race and they have a car with bad brakes.
Cleveland roadways are very driveable. Following the simple rules of the road will safely get you to your meeting of creditors in downtown Cleveland. If you find you simply cannot make the trip to Cleveland on your own you can always use the CYD, CYM or CYF. Call you dad, call your mom, or call your friend.
PS: Drivers in Cleveland seems to like to sit in line. As you approach the I-90 split you will see two lanes on the ramp to 90 eastbound. There is always a back up to get in the left lane of the ramp. Stay to the right. In the “slow” lane of I-90 you can breeze through traffic. If you take the right lane on to the ramp it turns into a thru lane to exit number 171, which is the exit you need anyway. Traffic in this lane on the new inner belt bridge is rarely backed up. If you enjoy backups move over to the fast lane.