Tracing a good picture is a shortcut for improvement.
Do you really think memorizing kanji on WaniKani is actually a shortcut to Japanese acquisition?
"Oh my God! You are such an airhead! Why are we going down a one-way street?" "I thought it would be a shortcut!"
Taking the nearby road will get you to your destination more quickly (because it's more close by!). This is a shortcut, aka the short way.
The reading is a bit weird in this one. It uses the kun'yomi reading for both kanji, even though it looks just like it should be all on'yomi reading. It's like you're taking a shortcut with your kanji readings and doing the native Japanese readings (kun'yomi) instead of the more intellectual Chinese ones (on'yomi). Luckily, you've hopefully seen both of these kanji as vocab already. You have ちか for 近 (short for 近い) and you have 道 (みち), just like the word "street" you learned before. Combine these together and you have the reading for this word. Perhaps it's like this because you're combining a couple concepts together into one word, at least when it comes to "short + way."