Shaker Heights is one step closer to make a range of improvements to the Lee Road corridor, between Chagrin and Scottsdale boulevards.
City Council on Monday adopted and accepted recommendations from the Lee Road Traffic Study and Corridor Plan, crafted by Michael J. Baker Inc. of Cleveland. Now that council has accepted the plan, the city will begin applying for grants to pay for the improvements.
"This has been in the works for a long time," Councilman Rob Zimmerman said. "It's an important project, and I think people recognize that.
"It's a gateway area into the city and it needs to be enhanced."
The city's planning commission recommended an adoption of the plan on Nov. 7 after a public meeting and presentation from the consultant.
Key recommendations of the plan include:
- Re-striping Lee Road from four lanes to three (one in each direction with a center turning lane) along most of the corridor
- Adding bike lanes or wide shoulders
- Enhancements for pedestrians and bike riders
- Streetscape enhancements and intersection reconfiguration in the commercial district south of Chagrin Boulevard
- Creating an entry gateway at Scottsdale Boulevard
"The desired outcome of the study is to develop a planning framework to guide development in the Lee Road commercial district and support bicycle and pedestrian improvements along the corridor," the executive summary reads.
"In a market with a glut of opportunity, such as Greater Cleveland, it is important that the City of Shaker Heights implement programs and present opportunities to developers, such as those suggest above, that entice them to consider the south section of Lee Road as their preferred choice for redevelopment projects."
The plan arose from the Economic Development Strategy for Shaker Heights, which was adopted two years ago. The Baker study was funded by a $60,000 NOACA Transportation for Liveable Communities Initiative grant. The grant was matched with $18,750 in city funding.
Planning Director Joyce G. Braverman said the timing of the approval is key because of the July passage of the two-year federal transportation bill. The legislation restricts streetscaping funding to projects related to safety, such as lighting or curb adjustments.
"The new grants will not pay for things, such as benches or trash cans, so we will need to be creative on how we design this," Braverman said. "One reason we're trying to go for grant money is that there may be some of the old funding still left and we might be able to combine the two."
Each of the key recommendations targets specific areas for enhancements, sometimes beyond the corridor. For example, the streets cape plan calls for the reconfiguration of intersections and South Woodland and Lee Roads; Kenyon Road and Chagrin Boulevard; Lomond Boulevard and Lee; and Scottsdale Boulevard and Lee.
Braverman said the design process will begin as the city seeks funding for implementation. The Baker plan includes various "concepts" that could be implemented. Mayor Earl Leiken said a total cost will be presented when the city decides on designs.