June 26, 2008
Though many may see Shaker Square as being in Shaker Heights,
that's only partly true. We are in the Shaker Heights City
School District, under an arrangement that dates back to the
incorporation of Shaker Heights in 1912. But we are also
in the City of Cleveland.
Now we must
all recognize the enormous help that Cleveland gave in the
remodeling of the Square in 1999 and 2000. (I'll be reporting
soon on how Cleveland, Shaker Heights and Cuyahoga County
supported that project.)
multi-million dollar undertaking was done for sound economic
increase property values (and thus tax valuations and tax
receipts for the city of Cleveland and the Shaker schools)
increase employment in those enterprises (and thus collect
more payroll taxes).
And a new
reason: shopping locally instead of driving to some distant
shopping mall saves energy.
Parking on and
near the Square can be hard to find. You can see the problem in
the VALET PARKING services offered by many restaurants. You can
hear the problem in the voices of merchants complaining that
restaurant patrons often take all the nearby parking spaces.
Cleveland can help the Square
by starting to use three
development tools long used by Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights.
1) Free Short-Term Metered
Yes, the parking
meters around the Square do give free short-term parking. They
owned by the Coral Company which made this improvement early in
Push the Button.)
parking meters on the Square are the Cleveland meters on Shaker Boulevard. In March 2007 we asked
Ward 4 City Councilman Kenneth
Johnson to look into having them changed to give free short-term
parking. Last September we asked him again at SHAD's
annual meeting. The idea seems to have made no
progress in more than a year. (I've called him twice this month
and left word for him to comment on this issue, but I have not
yet had a reply. I have promised to post his reply, verbatim, on
Take a short
walk on the Larchmere Boulevard business district. On the south (Cleveland)
side, the meters lack that feature. But on the north
(Shaker Heights) side of the street the meters
offer free short-term parking. Just turn the handle for 30
minutes of free parking. The meters at Coventry Village in
Cleveland Heights also give free short-term parking.
And what about
Cleveland? A call to City Hall yesterday revealed that no
Cleveland meters give free short-term parking. The Square
doesn't ask for special treatment. I'm sure all neighborhoods
would benefit from them.
2) Small Parking Lots
Heights has created many small parking lots that require either
a permit or use of a parking meter. You'll see them at the top
of Cedar Hill, on Lee Road south of Cedar, and on Coventry Road.
They help support local stores, restaurants and apartment
buildings. Cleveland Heights also has large lots on Mayfield Road, behind
the Cedar-Lee Theatre, and on Coventry.
The City of Cleveland, to
the best of my knowledge, has no parking lots outside of
3) Parking Structures
structure Cleveland Heights built a few years ago on the east
side of Coventry Road, in the heart of Coventry Village, is
vital to the health of that busy stretch of retail and restaurants.
Cleveland Heights recently completed a new parking structure behind
the Cedar-Lee Theater.
And what about
Cleveland's investment in parking garages. There are just two,
both downtown: one near City Hall, used largely by city employees, the other
near Gateway. That's fine. But what about the
Cleveland, Shaker Heights and
Cuyahoga County should start to address the parking problems on
and near Shaker Square. We can't expect the Coral Company to take on the
parking challenge by itself.
Arnie Berger, webkeeper