CLEVELAND -- The Lee - Van Aken Station -- one of the busiest on the Blue Line -- has been reconstructed by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA). The dedication ceremony was held Dec. 22, 2015.
- Design and redesign for budgetary reasons -- 2008-2011.
- Conceptual design: Bialosky + Partners Architects
- Architects of record: HWH Architects - Engineers - Planners Inc.
- Advertised for bids: Feb. 10 - March 12, 2014
- Contract award: April 15, 2014
- Contractor: Schirmer Construction LLC of North Olmsted
- Cost: $5.4 million, with 80 percent paid with federal funds
- Groundbreaking ceremony: June 25, 2014
- Construction period: 18 months
- 20 percent of the construction cost went to Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE).
Station opened in phases
- Early October 2015, Westbound customers began using the new stairs on the north side. Eastbound customers continued to use the temporary wooden stairs on the south side.
- Late October-early November 2015, New stairs and elevators were completed on both side of the tracks. The handicapped ramp at track level for westbound customers became operational.
- Late November 2015, The handicapped ramp at track level were completed for eastbound customers. Improvements to the platform were finished.
In 2008, RTA and the City of Shaker Heights completed the Shaker Heights Van Aken-Lee Transit-Oriented Development Plan to encourage enhanced vibrancy of the area through the historical connection to transit. The plan builds off of the existing strengths of the area, including:
- Municipal anchors of City Hall, Library, Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building, Police Station/Court, Fire House.
- Recent rehabilitation of the Shaker Town Center retail area.
- Infrastructure and streetscape improvements to Lee Road and Chagrin Boulevard.
- New, densified residential construction.
A temporary access has been built west of the station for patrons to use while the existing station is demolished and the new station is constructed. The station will remain open throughout construction, except during specific outages.
The station has the second highest ridership of the Blue Line stations east of Shaker Square, attesting to its importance as a destination within the community. The new station will:
- Continue to function as a major destination station within Shaker Heights and grow with the planned development for the area.
- Continue to offer transfer opportunities for crosstown passengers wishing to ride the rail to downtown or out to development at the Warrensville-Van Aken area.
- Improve the visibility of transit and provide improved amenities for passengers waiting to transfer either to bus or rail, meeting one of the critical goals of the reconstruction.
- Offer new passenger loading platforms and access, providing a safer and more inviting environment.
- Feature weather-protected vestibules at both entrances, connecting to elevators and stairs for equitable access for all riders.
- Extend the existing road bridge to provide a larger sidewalk area for bus waiting and passenger circulation.
- Significantly enhance the transit experience with enhanced information and greater security.
The overall architectural design was inspired by the quality of design in nearby buildings. The composition of the waiting pavilions, united by a trellis arch structure, creates a streetwall on the west side of Lee Road. Inspired by traditional Triumphal Arches that celebrate events and people, it will unite City Hall with the civic and commercial heart of the community to the south.
The Lee - Van Aken Rapid Station was initially developed as part of the original construction of the Shaker Rapid System. As part of the 1975 agreement that created RTA, the Shaker Rapid light rail system was completely rebuilt from 1980-81. At that time, the Lee - Van Aken Station as currently configured was built and the screening wall installed.
Since 1980, no other significant improvements have been made. This station needs to be reconstructed to meet ADA access requirements, giving RTA and the City of Shaker Heights an opportunity to achieve the goals of the Development Plan.
Page updated Jan. 5, 2016