CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - “Save the Boulevard!” was the cry from the megaphone outside Edwin’s on Saturday afternoon, opponents of a plan rallying to try to stop a proposal to close the stretch of Shaker Boulevard through Shaker Square.
“We want Shaker Boulevard to stay the way it is,” said John Lawson, who helped organize the protest.
The 90-year-old Shaker Square is second oldest shopping district in the country but proponents say prohibiting cars would be transformative.
"That would create a lot of opportunity with regard to public space since right now there's a lot of wasted space," says Tara Turner of LAND Studio, one of the groups involved. "We could just make this place a lot more competitive."
The space would go for play and recreation, creating more space for concerts, and even facilitating a bike trail and hiking path from the south side of the Square to Doan Creek to the north.
The rapid would still run through the middle of the Square and stop signs would replace stop lights.
But, opponents worry about the possible loss of parking spaces, increased traffic on side streets, and accessibility to the Square’s amenities.
“Whenever you block roads and make a lot of green space you also have a lot of economic issues with restaurants and business,” says Lawson. “People like the charm of Shaker Square without changing it into something else.”
There have already been seven public meetings about the proposal so far with more planned to get additional input. There’s no timetable or budget yet and any changes would take years.