LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Lakewood officials, residents, Boulevard Studios, and Osborn Engineering are still trying to find the right approach to create a “Gateway to Lakewood” at the corner of Detroit and Sloane Avenues.
The intersection is the main entrance from the west to Lakewood’s retail district along Detroit Avenue when drivers cross the Detroit Avenue Bridge from Rocky River. It’s also the northern tip of Rocky River Reservation, starting miles of uninterrupted multi-purpose trails to to the south.
“This is, first and foremost, a pedestrian safety improvement project,” said Lakewood’s Director of planning and development Shawn Leininger.
Leininger says the city and designers are sharing early designs now to take input before construction starts.
Early plans show wider sidewalks, shorter crosswalks, and an extended multipurpose trail rising out of the Rocky River Reservation and running southeast to Graber Drive.
The plan’s goal is “reducing vehicular space and giving it back over to pedestrians and cyclists,” said Boulevard Studios’ Chris Meske.
The curbs have already been extended by green paint and public art, protected by “salt and pepper shaker” bollards. The project aims to solidify those changes with new curbs and pavers.
How the corner would become a “gateway” to Lakewood is still up in the air.
Wider sidewalks and extended curbs allow for a more featured placement for historic markers and information tablets that already exist at the northern corner, where the avenues meet the bridge.
But Beck Center for the Arts President and CEO Cindy Einhouse suggested that the corner needs a grander gesture.
“There should be some Gateway sign that is engaging and ‘selfy-worthy,” Einhouse wrote in the online zoom meeting where the plans were being discussed.
Destination Cleveland achieved that same goal by helping install the five iconic Cleveland script signs across the region, costing $25,000 each. That inspired Parma to take a similar step.
Cleveland Metroparks Chief Planning and Design Officer Sean McDermott was receptive to that idea, also hinting that his organization would be interested in a beacon or obelisk-type structure to show that the intersection is mile-marker zero for the long multipurpose trail that runs through the park.
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