SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio - Shaker Boulevard has been named a top 10 Great Street for 2012 by the American Planning Association's Great Places in America program.
The boulevard earned a spot for its character, engaged citizens who fought to preserve the street's integrity, including fostering economic growth and jobs, and transportation options.
The 6.75-mile stretch, between Cleveland and I-271 in Beachwood, has carried millions of travelers over its 100-plus year history.
"For more than eight decades, Shaker Square has stood out as one of Cleveland's truly 'great places,'" said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson in a news release. "The development that has occurred in more recent years on Shaker Boulevard is indicative of what is happening throughout the city of Cleveland and a true example of where the city and its neighborhoods are headed."
Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leiken said the designation is "fitting" as the city celebrates its centennial year. "The boulevard reflects the best of our city's unique characteristics – light rail transit, lush, tree-lined streets, and grand homes built during the apex of American architecture."
Through Great Places in America, APA recognizes streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces featuring unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners. The 2012 Great Places illustrate how the foresight of planning fosters tomorrow's communities and they have many of the features Americans say are important to their "ideal community" including locally owned businesses, transit, neighborhood parks, and sidewalks.
"Shaker Boulevard is an outstanding example of planning's ability to add lasting value to communities that plan, design and build thoroughfares that are both functional and beautiful," said APA CEO Paul Farmer in a news release. "True to its founders' vision, Shaker Boulevard remains as attractive for commuters today as it was during the 1920s and 1930s. The boulevard has balanced parks, trees and an open median with the built environment for nearly a hundred years because citizens challenged inappropriate development proposals."
The nine other APA 2012 Great Streets are: Duval Street, Key West, Fla.; Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Mo.; Main Street, Bozeman, Mont.; Broadway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Fifth Avenue, New York City, N.Y.; Wall Street, Kingston, N.Y.; Grant Street, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Broad Street, Charleston, S.C.; and Gay Street, Knoxville, Tenn.
Since APA began Great Places in America in 2007, 60 neighborhoods, 60 streets and 50 public spaces have been designated in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
On the Web: www.planning.org/greatplaces