SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — A group of developers have plans to shake things up at Shaker Square by redesigning the flow of traffic throughout the shopping center.
Some longtime residents and business owners are hoping to put a stop to the project before it ever begins. People who oppose the project held a public meeting Saturday where they voiced their concerns.
The proposed project would remove the east and westbound lanes of Shaker Boulevard which runs directly through the shopping center.
Developers say the new design would be a better utilization of green space and would add curbside appeal to the area.
"This would essentially become a roundabout with stop signs instead of traffic signals," Tara Turner said.
Members of the group "Save Our Square" believe there is no reason to fix what's not broken.
"We all know that seeing 116th close here just a few months ago put small businesses out of business on Buckeye, and it led to fistfights with people stuck in traffic," Brandon Chrostowski said.
James Callihan said the traffic design in Shaker Square sets it apart from other shopping centers.
"The historic value is the charm, I think, and it's how we have a competitive edge on the newer shopping areas," Callihan said.
Turner acknowledged the historic value of the area, but said the revamp will increase foot traffic in the community.
"This is a historic space so we want to make sure that we keep that in mind," Turner said, "But we also have to keep the space competitive and we have to try to bring the community together. Something that hasn't happened here in a long time."
Residents raised safety concerns about the proposed roadway changes.
"What happens to emergency vehicles if you shut off Shaker Boulevard? Fire engines, police cars, EMS?," John Lawson said.
Developers say traffic data shows that turning Shaker Square into a roundabout wouldn't have much of an impact on the flow of traffic there.
The proposal is still in its preliminary phases. For now, developers and longtime vendors remain at a crossroads.
Community members who oppose the project organized a rally in the square on November 9 where they will voice their concerns. A definitive time has not been announced.