June 6, 2023

City of Shaker Heights debuts concept for Van Aken Bikeway project, accepting public feedback

Shaker Heights revealed the concept for its Van Aken Bikeway project during an open house Thursday which proposes buffered bike lanes on each side of Van Aken Boulevard.

The concept features five to six-feet of separation between bikers and cars marked by painted lines in the road, along with safety posts near intersections, to connect the Van Aken District, and retail and residential area, to a long-term project on Lee Road.

“We will connect to the Van Aken District,” Shaker Heights Planning Director Joyce Braverman said. “So, that transition is very important, and we will connect to bikeways on the road that eventually will be built in 2027.”

Attendees standing in a room looking and discussing poster boards with details of Shaker Heights' proposed Van Aken Bikeway Project.
Ideastream Public Media
Attendees at an Shaker Heights drop-in open house view and discuss proposed plans for the Van Aken Bikeway Project with members of the Shaker Heights Planning Department on Thursday, April 13, 2023.

Online and in-person feedback through the city’s first round of public engagement in February was essential to the creation of the concept, Senior Planner for the Shaker Heights Planning Department Dan Feinstein said.

“We got good feedback that pointed us straight in this direction, really brought us to it being buffered or being separated in some way, and that it was one way on each side,” he said. “That feedback has been tremendous in helping us get to this point.”

Participants in February’s feedback sessions showed clear preference for separated bike path, Braverman said, as it proved to be a more comfortable option for pedestrians and cyclists of all experience levels.

“There was unanimous sentiment about what type of path people would be most interested in,” she said. “Our goal is to build an all ages and all abilities facility, and so that type of separate path allows for that type of use.”

The concept proposes changes to traffic patterns at six-way intersections such as the intersection between Van Aken Boulevard and Avalon, Daleford and Dorchester roads. The proposal would also change Van Aken Boulevard from a two-lane street, to one lane in each direction in order to make room for the bike path.

“The traffic numbers support it. There isn’t too much traffic on the street,” Feinstein said. You can have one lane of traffic and that’s the only way really to provide the space for the bike lane plus the buffering that makes you feel safe.”

The concept will maintain current on-street parking down Van Aken Boulevard, Feinstein said.

The second public engagement period ends Tuesday after the city’s Van Aken Bike and Walk Audit which will feature both biking and walking tours of Van Aken Boulevard and more details on the proposed concept.

While the city’s planning department will continue to take public feedback during the design process, Braverman said it’s easier to implement feedback and changes beforehand.

“We will still have public meetings during the engineering phase — two public meetings,” she said. “So, there are still will be feedback time, but it just becomes … much more definite as you get into engineering.”

The city expects to finalize plans for the project in May, Braverman said, and hopes to begin construction in the summer or fall of 2024.

We are thrilled that you have the Van Aken District in mind as a place for your special gathering! Please submit your event request no later than 3 weeks in advance of the intended event date. Thank you!


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