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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SHAKER HEIGHTS RAPID TRANSIT

SHAKER HEIGHTS RAPID TRANSIT

The SHAKER HEIGHTS RAPID TRANSIT, built by the VAN SWERINGEN brothers, provided a convenient transportation link from the residential properties they were developing in the suburb to the downtown commercial center. The Shaker Rapid, originally the Cleveland Interurban Railroad, began service on 11 April 1920 with 2 branches, Moreland (later Van Aken) Blvd. and Shaker Blvd. With tracks located on the Shaker and Moreland median strips, the rail rapid transit had a traffic-free right-of-way from its eastern termini to SHAKER SQUARE. From Shaker Square to E. 93rd St., tracks were laid in a cut blasted from solid rock. Westward from there to E. 34th St., they entered KINGSBURY RUN leading to the steam railroads' corridor. At E. 34th St., the rapid cars were forced to climb from their private right-of-way and follow public streets to their loop at PUBLIC SQUARE. When the final leg of their traffic-free route was completed in July 1930, the cars continued on private right-of-way to a station in the newly completed CLEVELAND UNION TERMINAL. The Shaker Rapid, engineered to keep its cars segregated from traffic, delivered quick and dependable transit service. In 1929 the Moreland line was extended eastward from Lynnfield (its original terminus) to Warrensville Center Rd. In 1937 the Shaker line was extended from Warrensville Center Rd. to a new loop at Green Rd.

Following the collapse of the Van Sweringens' financial empire, the Shaker Rapid was placed into receivership in 1935; the banks operated the system for 9 years and then sold it to the city of Shaker Hts. Municipal operation began on 6 Sept. 1944. On 5 Sept. 1975, the lines were transferred to the GREATER CLEVELAND REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY, who reimbursed SHAKER HTS. approx. $95,600 for various costs incurred by the city. In 1980 the Authority began an 18-month, $100 million renovation of the system, upgrading it to contemporary light rail standards. Service on the renamed Blue (Van Aken) and Green (Shaker) lines was inaugurated on 30 Oct. 1981.