Ten Ways to Improve Shaker Square

This page was published in 2009. Some of its ideas are low cost, others are major projects.  As of January 2019, no improvement on this list had been implemented!


To change the widely held perception that the Square is unsafe, it needs a greater police presence, better lighting. more alarm boxes and more cameras. In its own interest, Cleveland needs to invest more and spend more.


Aside from the North Union Farmers Market, a great boon to  the Square, there has been a decline in large crowd events. No problem there. Night-time events brought crowds to the Square when parking was hard to find and the stores were closed.  Here are some promotion possibilities:

  • Ads and promotions geared to holidays such as Fathers Day and Mothers Day

  • Shaker Square gift certificates

  • Radio, television and internet ads

  • Saturday daytime promotions, each week for a different quadrant. Greater traffic at one store could lead to more business at nearby stores.

  • Early-bird dinners. Thousands of older persons live around the Square, yet none of its restaurants offers an incentive for them to come to dinner earlier.

Free Short Term Parking

Cleveland's parking meters, from Shaker Square to Kamm's Corners on the far west side, do not offer free short term parking. Changing the city code to give free short term parking would help many of its stores and restaurants.

In 2007 the 60 meters on Coral Company land all around the Square were changed to give 15 minutes free parking. It was a boost. But in 2012 the rates were doubled and free short term parking was removed from almost all meters.

More Parking

Shaker Heights helps local businesses with free short-term parking and small parking lots. Cleveland Heights also offers free short-term parking, much metered parking, plus parking structures at Coventry Village and on Lee Road. Cleveland does nothing!

How about it Cleveland? The payback: collecting more from sales, property and payroll taxes. Said differently: avoiding long-term declines in tax collections.

"Hot Line" Phone Number

We call 911 when we see something that needs emergency response. But if we see something on the Square that is messy, dangerous or broken, there is no number to call. Each quadrant has a directory of stores and restaurants. How about adding a "hot line" number to these directories?

Visitor and Living Center

There is a University Circle Visitor & Circle Living Center, with a helpful staff, on Euclid Avenue near Mayfield Road. A good idea for the Square. Learn more.

Community Space

Indoor, day and evening, year-round space can help build community. See our page Public Spaces and Community.

Merchants Association

Nearly all businesses on the Square pay a monthly fee for promotion to the Coral Company. We suggest that these funds be controlled by the businesses, through their merchants association, not by the property owner. There will be more promotion, and when Shaker Square changes ownership, its web presence and promotions will continue.

Special Improvement District

A Special Improvement District (SID) is a way a defined area can assess an additional tax on its property owners and direct how those funds are spent. (Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights is a SID.) There was talk about an SID for the Square in 2016, with no result.  

Library Outpost

When this page was posted it had only nine suggestions. We invited visitors to submit a tenth. Here it is.

Have a branch of the Shaker Heights Library at the Square. (The Shaker Square area, while in Cleveland, is in the Shaker Heights City School and Library District. How that happened.)

It need not be a big commitment. For a start, a safe place to pick up and return books, video and audio items would help. It could be in a cooperating business or, even better, in our hoped for indoor community space.

See you on the Square.

Arnold Berger

August 8, 2009
updated 9/11, 7/13, 2/14, 4/14, 5/15, 8/18, 1/19

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