Lee Road Action Plan

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Learn More

The Lee Road Action Plan will create the vision to comprehensively transform the area south of Van Aken Boulevard into a thriving corridor and commercial district that is attractive, walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly.

Phase 1—Understand: Learn about the results of Phase 1.

Phase 2—Shape: Phase 2 of the Lee Road Action Plan took place between June and August 2022 and included 17 meetings, most of which were small informal interactions, including neighborhood get-togethers, bike/walking tours, merchant meetings, and community events.  Over 250 engaged Shaker and Cleveland residents, merchants, and property owners, primarily from nearby neighborhoods, attended these events. In addition to the in-person and virtual meetings, the City conducted an online visual preference survey that was completed by over 450 diverse people from across Shaker Heights and Cleveland. 

Participants overwhelmingly desire a more walkable Lee Road between Van Aken Boulevard and into Cleveland, with a new neighborhood center around an expanded Chelton Park. Improved neighborhood connections, public spaces, and corridor gateways were preferred.  A road diet with one lane in each direction and a center turn lane was favored including: 

  • medians and curb extensions for aesthetics and pedestrian safety, 
  • high visibility crosswalks
  • ample pedestrian sidewalks
  • off-road bike trail
  • streetscaping
  • reduced curb cuts 
  • consolidated off-street parking

The plan includes foundational market analysis to assure recommendations are realistic.  Participants supported redevelopment grounded in that analysis and included maintaining and supporting our existing businesses, filling vacant buildings, creating opportunities for one- to four-story mixed-use redevelopment that includes retail, restaurant, recreation, housing, maker space, and office.

The collective community input through all outreach methods provided a unified path forward. View a presentation to Council showing results of in-person and online engagement and an economic development analysis overview.

Phase 3—Define: Finalize plan and recommendations. Coming this fall.

The information we collected from residents, business owners, and area property owners during Phase 1 and 2 of the Action Plan will serve as the foundation for Phase 3, the creation of a final plan. This fall will include additional community engagement, finalizing the plan, and City Council adoption. In anticipation of a final plan, the City is seeking out grant funding for implementation in 2025-2027.

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Project Overview

This visionary reinvestment plan will improve connections along Lee Road from the northern residential neighborhoods through the southern civic and commercial areas. The Lee Road Action Plan will build on the recommendations of the Economic Development Strategy/Strategic Investment Plan Update and Lee Road Traffic Study & Corridor Plan, study the area south of Van Aken Boulevard and several blocks into the City of Cleveland, and will create the vision to comprehensively transform the area south of Chagrin Boulevard into a thriving corridor and commercial district that is attractive, walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly.   It is a community-driven plan that, through robust community engagement, will provide detailed recommendations to address the longstanding need for transportation enhancements and corridor redevelopment, such as traffic calming, access management, neighborhood connections, pedestrian/bike amenities, urban design strategies, and economic development and facilities strategy.

Lee Road Buckets Diagram

Existing Conditions and Background

Lee Road is a NOACA-designated priority bike route with connections to the Green and Blue Line rapid transit and the #40 and #14 RTA bus routes. Lee Road is a busy four-lane road that is absent of bicycle infrastructure and provides minimal connection with adjacent residential neighborhoods, bike routes, and parks. There is excess motor vehicle capacity, too much asphalt, no landscaping, inadequate pedestrian areas, and access challenges.

To the north, Lee Road connects to Cleveland Heights where there are three drive lanes and bike shoulders. To the south, the road connects to Cleveland at Scottsdale where it includes small, underutilized commercial buildings and lots, each with its own front-facing parking lot. The half-mile between Chagrin and Scottsdale has high commercial vacancies, tax delinquencies, and 45 driveway curb cuts. Underinvestment and disjointedness in the commercial district contrast with the strong sense of community in the nearby single- and two-family residential neighborhoods. 

In 2010, the City created the Economic Development Strategy/Strategic Investment Plan Update to enhance business activity and build a strong and sustainable economic future through policies that correct market imbalances and provide strong returns on investment.

In 2012, the City undertook the Lee Road Traffic Study & Corridor Plan to improve transportation access and circulation for all modes along Lee Road and improve the character of the commercial district south of Chagrin Road through streetscape enhancements.  This plan recommended lane reconfiguration along the entire Lee Road corridor from four lanes to two through lanes with a center turn lane, bike infrastructure along the entire corridor (north-bike shoulders, middle-sharrows, south-dedicated bike lanes), traffic signal improvements, targeted intersection reconfiguration, and pedestrian improvements. The plan also recommended further study to create a vision for the Lee Road corridor south of Chagrin Boulevard, including access management, shared parking, redevelopment strategies, marketing strategy, and improved neighborhood connections. 

Phase 1 Understand

In February 2022, over 150 people attended three meetings (download presentation | view video) held to engage stakeholders, business owners, property owners, and residents about the future of the Lee Rd Corridor. Participants started by sharing their thoughts on the corridor today and what they’d like it to become.  Attendees told us that, today, the corridor is congested, unsafe, isolated, unattractive, and has poor visibility and roadway conditions. Overwhelmingly, those in attendance were encouraged by Lee Road’s potential, envisioning a future Lee Road that is walkable, vibrant, safe, welcoming/inviting, attractive, accessible, and sustainable.

Overall 150 people attended the meetings and over 2000 people weighed in on four one-question polls, and one six-question survey.  Both the meeting conversations and the online survey asked the following questions, each of which is followed by the major themes we heard from participants: 

What are the challenges along Lee Rd?   Answers included car-centric. traffic/congestion and roadway conditions, appearance (unappealing, unattractive, unwelcoming), visibility and access to businesses, poor lighting, safety  (drivers, pedestrians, cyclists), lack of family-friendly amenities/businesses, vacancy, and parking.

What are the opportunities along Lee Rd? Answers included connectivity (businesses, neighborhood, Cleveland, and to Chelton Park), preserve existing business, building on entrepreneurship culture, branding/Identity, adding family-friendly businesses (sit-down restaurant, café, arts/fitness/yoga, and places that welcome youth), walkable, bike and pedestrian-friendly, relocate bus depot, new buildings/spaces to replace some of the brick buildings, beautify, and welcome people to the corridor.

What types of businesses would you like to see along Lee Rd? Respondants encouraged family-friendly businesses (restaurants, cafes), multi-use buildings and multi-family housing, service businesses for neighborhood and commuters, diverse array of businesses for the diverse community, welcoming space for youth, indoor and outdoor space for activity/recreation, and art/fitness businesses.

What should be preserved? Answers included existing businesses, green space, park, and trees.

What will transform Lee Rd?  You told us you’d like to create a multimodal corridor that is vibrant, inviting, welcoming, safe, and walkable, with improved visibility.  You’d like to preserve existing businesses and add new ones, embracing the community’s entrepreneurial spirit.  Identifying barriers, embracing the culture, and celebrating the city’s history and diversity were important for transformation, as were shared parking, adding multi-family housing, improving the identity/cohesiveness of Lee Road, and implementing streetscape improvements.

What types of community spaces would you like to see on Lee Road? Answers included adding family- and youth-friendly gathering spaces and connecting to Chelton Park and indoor and outdoor places where people can gather for music, recreation, performance, fitness, and for their children to play.  Outdoor dining, pocket parks and a dog park were also mentioned.

Schedule

TIMEFRAMEDETAILS
June 2021City issued a Request for Proposals seeking qualified planning and urban design consultant teams to undertake the Lee Road Action Plan
July-August 2021Proposal review, interviews, consultant selection, City approval and legislation
September 2021Contracting with WSP USA to undertake Lee Road Action Plan. Cuyahoga County undertakes Lee Road Crash Analysis
October-December 2021WSP USA and City collect background data and begin economic analysis
January 2022Public engagement process begins
February 24, 2022 6:30-8 pmPublic meeting #1. View the presentation (PDF) | View the Q&A (PDF)
June 15, 2022Public Meeting #2. View the presentation (PDF) | Watch the presentation (YouTube) 
June 22, 2022Public Meeting #2 (Virtual). View the presentation (PDF) | Watch the presentation (YouTube) 


What Comes After the Plan is Completed?

The Lee Road Action Plan will be used to support businesses, business owners, and property owners as well as bolster grant applications for physical improvements such as road reconfiguration, pedestrian and bike improvements, and signalization. Once funding is received, plan recommendations to change the physical street and streetscape will be engineered and constructed in the public realm. This first step to reconfigure and improve how Lee Road functions will set the table for future development and investment opportunities, which will be informed by the market analysis and community input provided during the planning process.

Thus far, the City has received more than $2.4 million in grant funding for Lee Road. This includes $1.8 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation and $605,000 from NOACA. Implementation of the plan is anticipated to start in 2025.

Documents

News

Staff Contacts

Email Kara Hamley O'Donnell in the Planning Department.