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AMATS Releases Mid-Block Crossing Analysis

January 27, 2015 in AMATS, Portage, Summit, Transportation

The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study’s (AMATS) recently completed Mid-Block Crossing Analysis is a first-of-its kind effort by the agency to identify locations where mid-block pedestrian crossings are occurring or are likely to occur throughout the Greater Akron area.  By identifying these locations, area communities can determine where pedestrian safety improvements may be needed.

 

This analysis won’t be the last-of-its-kind either, according to AMATS officials.  It’s the first in a series of similar efforts to foster a new planning synergy for the region that combines new planning and design strategies for a single purpose: To improve the area’s quality of life.

 

Many of the locations identified in the analysis are informal crossing points at roads and streets that aren’t marked as crossings.  People prefer to cross illegally at these points rather than walk to the safety of the nearest available crosswalk.  Many do so with no problem while others aren’t as fortunate.

 

“We hope that this analysis will help our region avert some of the tragedies that have been in the national news recently such as the toddler who was killed in Atlanta, Georgia while attempting to cross a street with his mother,” AMATS Transit Planner Nate Brugler explains.

 

The analysis identifies 41 potential mid-block crossing locations throughout the Greater Akron area and recommends a number of potential safety improvements.  Brugler says that the analysis will aid communities and developers as they design and plan for future projects.  He notes that Akron has a number of locations that are solid candidates for mid-block crossings given the city’s inordinately long blocks in its downtown area.

 

Brugler adds that the agency is not limiting the Greater Akron area to those locations identified in its analysis.  AMATS is accepting suggestions from the public regarding potential crossing locations through its web site – amatsplanning.org – and its Citizens Involvement Committee.

 

“Because this analysis provides background on pedestrian behavior, we hope that it will be a starting point that leads to more pedestrian-friendly communities,” Brugler continues, “We are promoting mid-block crossings and other planning concepts such as road diets and other traffic-calming measures to improve our region’s safety and quality of life.”

 

Those living in the Greater Akron area should expect to hear more about these concepts in the coming weeks.  Fast on the heels of its Mid-Block Crossing Analysis, AMATS will release a road-diet report soon.  As the name implies, a road diet entails reducing the width of a road or its lanes to improve safety or to provide space for other modes of travel such as biking or walking.  Sometimes the freed-up space is used for footpaths, sidewalks, boulevard landscaping, and bike lanes.  The upcoming report will identify roadway sections suitable for road diets.

 

For more information about the AMATS Mid-Block Crossing Analysis, please call AMATS at 330-375-2436 or visit the agency’s web site at amatsplanning.org.

AMATS’ 2012 Annual Report now available

May 16, 2013 in AMATS, News

Annual Report 2012The 2012 Annual Report from AMATS is now available.  The report details the agency’s accomplishments during the year that marked AMATS’ 50th Anniversary as a metropolitan planning organization.

Readers can find out why agency leaders agreed that preservation of the Greater Akron area’s existing transportation system should be a priority over costly expansions.

There are also summaries regarding the development of several items integral to the release of Transportation Outlook 2035, the area’s upcoming long-range regional transportation plan.  There’s also information about the agency’s ongoing efforts to promote regional connectivity and sustainability through its various cycling initiatives.

To view the report, please click the graphic above.

ACT: AMATS Engaging Public on Transportation in Greater Akron

April 3, 2013 in ACT, AMATS

The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) invites you to participate in the development of two items key to the future of the Greater Akron area: Transportation Outlook 2035 and the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Fiscal Years 2014 through 2017.

Transportation Outlook 2035 is the area’s draft long-range transportation plan of identified needs and recommendations.  The plan includes highway, transit, bike and pedestrian project recommendations that are expected to be completed by 2035.  Transportation Outlook 2035 recommends over $4.3 billion in highway infrastructure investments through 2035, which includes over $2.5 billion for preservation of the existing system.  The draft plan includes investment of over $1.7 billion in the region’s public transportation system and recommends $30 million in bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

AMATS Planning Coordinator Krista Beniston says that the draft plan represents the agency’s focus on using the Greater Akron area’s shrinking funding resources wisely.  “These recommendations reflect a “fix-it-first” approach to pursue needed investments in the area’s existing transportation system rather than costly expansions,” Beniston explains. 

The TIP is the area’s four-year program of highway, public transit and bike and pedestrian projects scheduled to receive federal funding.  The program includes more than $662 million in highway and public transportation projects for fiscal years 2014 through 2017, including nearly $9 million for bike and pedestrian projects.  TIP Coordinator Victor Botosan says that the program – like Transportation Outlook 2035 – emphasizes maintenance of the area’s existing system.

The agency is hosting two public engagement meetings so that residents may share their insights on these items.  Both meetings will begin at 6 p.m. at the following dates and locations.

  • April 9 @ Akron-Summit County Public Library – Main Library, 60 S. High St. in Akron. 
  • April 18 @ Kent Free Library, 312 W. Main St. in Kent.

Drafts of both items are available for review and comment at the following locations:

  • The agency web site – amatsplanning.org
  • The AMATS office -  806 CitiCenter, 146 S. High Street in downtown Akron.
  • PARTA office – 2000 Summit Road in Kent.
  • Ohio Department of Transportation District 4 office – 2088 S. Arlington Road in Akron
  • Twitter – @amatsplanning
  • Facebook – facebook.com/amatsplanning

Learn and Create: AMATS Connecting Communities Grants

October 30, 2012 in AMATS, Communications, MPOS, Portage, Summit

AMATS, the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study, is one of the four Metropolitan Planning Organizations involved in Vibrant NEO 2040 that we discussed in our post last week.  One of their many initiatives is the Connecting Communities program which “is designed to provide communities with funding to develop transportation plans that will lead to the identification of projects eligible for AMATS funds.”

The Connecting Communities grant program was a recommendation from  AMATS’s Connecting Communities Planning Initiative (link is to a large pdf file) in 2010.

 

The purpose of Connecting Communities – A Guide to Integrating Land Use and Transportation is to promote a region that balances environmental, social and economic concerns by improving coordination between land use and transportation. Connecting Communities utilizes a regional planning process to explore strategies to increase transportation choices and accessibility, help communities make collaborative, informed decisions to coordinate development, reduce environmental impacts and improve regional connectivity.

The intent of this initiative is to create more vibrant livable communities though coordinating resources, partners and stakeholders to integrate transportation and land use planning and decisions in the greater Akron area. It looks at how transportation funding, project selection and planning can better complement land use planning that encourages investment and revitalization of established neighborhoods and regional collaboration.

AMATS has announced another round for the grant process for those in its planning area (Portage and Summit County) will open on November 1, 2012:

From AMATS website…

The purpose of these plans will focus on the concept of livability. Plans should enhance neighborhoods by improving transportation connections and promoting alternative modes of transportation like walking, biking, and transit. Grant funding will be used to hire a consultant to study a general area of a community. The funds will not be used for preliminary engineering, but instead will be used to develop a plan containing analysis and recommendations. Recommended projects will then be eligible for inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan.

The program makes $100,000 available with awards being limited to $50,000 per grant. No local funding match is required for this grant.

Grant Schedule

Notice of Funding Availability: November 1, 2012

Application: November 30, 2012

Applications Due: January 15, 2013

Award Announcement: March 2013 Policy Committee Meeting

Questions may be directed to Heather Davis Reidl at 330.375.2436 or hreidl@akronohio.gov.

 

 
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