Bedford, OH- A very diverse Eastside Cleveland Suburb with a rich history

Difficult to parse out exactly what is urban and suburb in Bedford. As a general rule I used the river as a southern boundary, Wellman St as the eastern, Columbus & albot as the northern, and the railroad tracks as the western boundary.

The first settlers to Bedford arrived in 1813. Early settlers to the region were drawn to Tinkers Creek and the hardwood forests. Waterfalls on Tinkers Creek were ideal for mills. In 1837 Bedford Township had a population of 475 people and petitioned to become the Village of Bedford. With the growth of industry in the area Bedford reached 2,000 souls in 1840. Bedford’s population quickly declined, however, as separate municipalities splintered off. In 1900 just under 1,500 people lived here. Population grew swiftly in the 20th century leading to over 7K residents in 1940 and more than doubling to 17K in 1970. Bedford’s population contracted by about 4K but has appeared to stabilize at around 13K.

Bedford has a fairly in tact main street core along Broadway between Franklin and Powers roads. A decent array of local shops and food and beverage businesses are here but I wouldn’t say its thriving. The oldest buildings in town surround Bedford public square. There is a sizable pre-WWII fabric mainly to the east of Broadway with decent urban form. Bedford also has great access to the Metro Parks, a very diverse population, affordable for-sale hsg, good historic architecture, and good public transit.  Bedford struggles with poor schools, low density, limited bike infrastructure, limited rental supply, and many autocentric stretches. I’d love to see more dense mixed-use development here, but the market just isn’t strong enough currently.

Click here to view my Bedford Album on Flickr


* Good public transit, especially for a suburb.
* Great economic and racial diversity here. Majority African American suburb with 1/3 of the population is White and about 4% is Hispanic. Good generational diversity too.
* For sale housing is very affordable and moderately priced. 1-beds sell btwn 65K-100K, 2-beds sell btwn 100K-150, 3&4 beds sell btwn 85K-250K. High end housing and for sale condos is certainly missing here.
* Good historic architecture.
* Good tree canopy.
* Just west of Dwtn Bedford is the extensive Metroparks surrounding Tinkers Creek. Also a public pool and several ballfields and a nice public square.
* Decent cultural amenities including a good array of restaurants, bars, and cafes, a couple art galleries, and the Bedford Historic Museum.
* Decent retail amenities include a supermarket, a couple drug stores, several boutiques, a couple consignment stores, a vinyl store, bookstore, a couple banks, several bakeries and dessert stores, a dwtn public library and post office, plenty of churches, and a major hospital. Many of the commercial amenities lie within autocentric spaces.
* Bedford is pretty safe overall but some pretty underutilized and sometimes vacant space along the southern reaches of Broadway Ave.


* Density is more like that of a suburb.
* Decent access to Dwtn with a 25 min drive and 45 minute bus ride. A bit longer for both modes to University Circle.
* Some gridded blocks but connectivity is so .
* Limited biking infrastructure. Dedicated bike path in the metro parks however, but that connects mostly to other parks.
* Only a handful of schools within the Bedford Dwtn and Bedford schools overall have poor ratings.
* Rentals are pretty limited esp. 1 & 2 bedrooms. What is available for lease is generally pretty affordable.
* Decent but not great ADA infrastructure.
* Modern in-fill in Dwtn Bedford is almost all autocentric and pretty ugly.
* Good urban form and streetscaping along the core of Broadway. But very autocentric in the north and southern reaches of Broadway and along OH-8.
* Pedestrian activity is pretty limited to the core of Broadway Ave and even here it’s not terribly active.
* Dwtn Bedford certainly struggles from a positive image.