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Van Aken District

In early 2014, Shaker residents will see the first changes planned for the Van Aken district. The Warrensville/Van Aken/Chagrin intersection, where six roads now converge, has long been the bane of area drivers. The reconfiguration will create a standard four-way intersection, reducing wait times, confusion and congestion. The district's redevelopment is moving ahead. 

The road reconfiguration paves the way for a vibrant and walkable mixed-use district as envisioned by the Warrensville/Van Aken Transit-Oriented Development Plan.

March 2014: Community Update Meeting Held

Over 350 residents attended a Community Update Meeting on March 11 to learn about road construction and development plans for the Van Aken district. The presentation and meeting handouts are posted below. Presenters also showed a traffic simulation for the intersection that was prepared as part of the 2008 traffic study.

The Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works will manage the road construction process, which is expected to begin on April 1, 2014. This work will be completed in two phases and is expected to be completed in November 2015.

The most asked questions from the March 11, 2014 Public Meeting are included below; the remainder are answered in the FAQ section of the website.

Q. How will the city address cut-through traffic in the neighborhoods during construction?

  1. The contractor and the Cuyahoga County Public Works Department will work with Shaker Heights Police to determine when and where temporary turn restriction signs may be needed to prevent cut-through traffic. Winslow and Farnsleight have been identified as areas of potential concern. Detour signs will be posted alerting drivers in advance of specific construction locations, and Shaker Heights Police will be on site during the construction in order to maintain traffic flow.

Q. Once construction begins, how will I find current project information?

  1. Listed below are several ways to find updated information during the project. Also, signs showing traffic detours and restrictions will be posted before construction begins.  

Q. What are you doing to ensure that existing businesses in the district are supported during construction?

  1. Construction in the main intersection will not occur until 2015, so Van Aken Center and Shaker Plaza will not be affected this year. We are working with the contractor to determine what impact the straightening of Farnsleigh will have on the businesses on Chagrin in 2014. The County and contractor have committed to signage to help direct customers and ensure that people know the businesses are open at all times. As plans for the 2015 construction season become clear, we will work closely with the businesses and shopping center owners to ensure the businesses are supported.

Q. What mix of businesses are you hoping to attract to the district?  

  1. Community feedback and our market study indicate that a sustainable, thriving neighborhood center for Shaker Heights will focus on local niche businesses, independent restaurants and everyday lifestyle uses like childcare, fitness and food/beverage. New office space and new luxury apartments will feed the restaurant/retail mix.

December 2013: Memorandum of Understanding Signed

  • RMS, the owner of Van Aken Center (where Fresh Market is located), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City in an effort to make the first phase of the district redevelopment a reality.
  • The City purchased the former Qua Buick property, 3393 Warrensville Center Road, which sits directly across from the Van Aken district's phase one redevelopment project area.
  • Said a temporary "goodbye" to Starbucks on December 27. But they'll be back! The company is discussing several locations -- all within the Van Aken district -- and hopes to return in 2015. Remember the other coffee and gathering options in Shaker: J. Pistone, Gimme Java, Juma Gallery, and Lucy's Sweet Surrender.

February 2012: Full Funding Achieved

Full funding, in the amount of $18.5M, has been achieved for the reconfiguration of the Warrensville/Van Aken intersection. The last piece of funding was secured at the end of January 2012 when the District One Public Works Integrating Committee accepted the staff recommendation and approved an Issue One grant of $4.4M.

Funding will be used to:

  • Reconfigure the Warrensville/Van Aken/Chagrin 6-way intersection to a 4-way intersection with turns permitted in all directions
  • Reduce wait times at the signal light
  • Relocate Northfield Road to the south
  • Close Van Aken Boulevard between Warrensville Center and Farnsleigh
  • Straighten Farnsleigh at Chagrin Boulevard
  • Add trees and other landscaping on all roads

View press release

January 2012: RTA Blue Line Track Extension Alternatives Analysis

RTA is seeking federal funding for the rapid transit track extension. As part of the funding application process, RTA is analyzing the alternatives and impacts for extending the Blue Line rapid transit tracks through the Warrensville /Van Aken intersection to various endpoints including I-480 and I-271. For more information, visit the RTA website.

Project History

Planning for the Van Aken District project started with public meetings in 2007. Learn more about the project history.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

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