Cvijovic, owner of Art’s Pub, discusses the Lorain Road study
with Floyd Browne landscape architect Mike Kannard and his
business partner Paul Sanfilippo. (Photo by Kevin Kelley)
receptive to Lorain enhancements
By Kevin Kelley
Published Jan. 31, 2007
and signage on the western section of Lorain Road are too haphazard
and cluttered, according to a report by the Akron-based Floyd Browne
Group. The engineering and planning firm recommended that parking
be reconfigured so that vehicles do not block the entrances to businesses.
Businesses should also reduce the number of driveway
and parking lot entrances along Lorain Road and share parking lots,
the report concluded.
Josef Schwartz, owner of the building at 22800 Lorain
Road that is home to Wagner’s Home Improvement, liked the study’s
recommendation on parking.
Schwartz was one of several property and business
owners who attended a public meeting Jan. 24 at the city’s senior
center at which the study’s findings were made public.
Businesses closed at night could share their parking
spaces with restaurants that are open mainly at night, Schwartz
“It would provide more parking,” he said.
The city-commissioned study was funded through a $50,000
grant from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and a
$10,000 matching grant from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McGowan III.
Dennis J. Mersky, senior vice president at Floyd Browne,
explained that creating a shared parking lot among three or four
neighboring stores would make traffic flow more efficient and make
former parking spaces available for greenspace.
Floyd Browne study recommends businesses eliminate parking
in front of storefronts to make entrances more visible. (Photo
by Larry Bennet)
The goal, Mersky said, is to create better sightlines
to Lorain Road businesses.
“The little bit of parking that can be achieved in
front of the buildings very often does more harm than good,” Mersky
said. “For the one or two spaces that are used in those cases, it
covers the store front. (Vehicles cover) the place where people
want to go to the front door.”
Mersky recommended several steps be taken to make
intersections more pedestrian-friendly. Landscape enhancement and
paving crosswalks with different materials such as brick were suggested
as methods of benefiting pedestrians and corner businesses.
Such measures, Mersky said, could make intersections
“a pedestrian environment that cars move through instead of a car
environment that pedestrians move through.”
Mersky also said signage was cluttered and confusing
and urged businesses to develop more uniform signage along the lines
of the city’s sign guidelines.
“Signage is mostly competitive, and that’s not a good
thing,” Mersky said. He cited several businesses that use canopies
as good examples of signage.
As it stands now, the section of Lorain Road in Fairview
Park is more pedestrian friendly than in North Olmsted, Mersky said.
If implemented, the study’s recommendations could allow Fairview
Park to enhance its uniqueness.
“Take that distinctiveness that is Fairview Park and
develop a gateway that is a very friendly and inviting place of
arrival and clearly says you’ve arrived at a special section of
Lorain Road,” Mersky told business owners.
Jim Kennedy, Fairview Park’s director of development,
said the goal of the study was to find ways for both businesses
and the city to become more successful.
“We want people to come into this town and spend money
in your businesses,” Kennedy said.
The study, which covered Lorain Road from the North
Olmsted border to West 223rd Street, represents an opportunity for
business owners to enhance their properties in conjunction with
the city’s program for improving aesthetics, Kennedy said.
“The city’s going to have to spend some money on enhancements,”
Kennedy said. “And at some point in time we might be asking you
as property and business owners to spend some money on your own
property with respect to improving facades, dressing it up, adding
greenspace, looking at minor amenities that enhance your property
like awnings and things like that.”
Tom Cvijovic, owner of Art’s Pub at 22290 Lorain Road,
told West Life the plan will likely be beneficial to the city and
“The city needs to definitely go forward,” he said.
Mayor Eileen Patton told West Life she was pleased
by the initial reaction of business owners.
“I think they were very enthusiastic that there’s
a future and plan for that end of the city,” Patton said.
Kennedy said Floyd Browne will submit a final report
with recommendations in about three months.
But the city, which has been in financial difficulties
over the past year, may have to beg, borrow and steal to get funds
to implement the study’s recommendations.
Patton said the important thing is the city now has
a plan to improve that section of the city. She said the city will
pursue grants and may even begin to save for future improvements.
“When grants become available for the city, instead
of scrambling for a plan, we’ll already have one,” Patton said.
“Our homework now will be done.”