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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.

Celebrating rolling successes – AMATS’ 2013 Bike-N-Brainstorms

July 17, 2013 in Collaboration, Portage, Summit, Transportation

So far in 2013, AMATS has hosted two successful Bike-N-Brainstorm rides – one in Kent in April and another in Green in June.  The agency’s Bike-N-Brainstorms are an innovative way that the agency uses to gain public insight as to what should be done to improve biking in the Greater Akron area.

A Bike-N-Brainstorm is a group bike ride along key corridors so that cyclists may experience firsthand what it’s like to bike there.  At the end of their ride, group members participate in a brainstorming session with agency personnel to share their ideas as to what can be done to improve bike travel within the area.

The Kent Bike-N-Brainstorm began April 20 at the new Kent Central Gateway in downtown Kent.  Sixty-two attendees braved morning snow showers to travel a 5-mile route through various parts of Kent.  The ride highlighted future bike projects in the city, such as the addition of new bike lanes, upcoming links between the city and the Kent State University (KSU) campus, and connections to The PORTAGE Hike & Bike Trail.  Among the issues identified by participants during the subsequent brainstorming session were the need for improved signage, more bike lanes, and keeping bike lanes free of debris.  The city of Kent, KSU and the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority partnered with AMATS in hosting this event.

The Green Bike-N-Brainstorm kicked off on the morning of June 22 at the Nimisila Reservoir.  A group of about 40 participants traveled their choice of a 3-mile family friendly route along Green’s Christman Road or an 8-mile route throughout the city of Green.  Issues identified during the brainstorming session were the need for wider berms, improved signage and more bike lanes.  The city of Green and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources partnered with AMATS in hosting this event.

“We’re really pleased with the level of enthusiasm at these events.  The feedback that we receive helps our agency and local communities immensely in planning and prioritizing bike infrastructure improvements,” AMATS Planning Coordinator Krista Beniston continues, “In April, AMATS participated in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Midwest Regional Bicycle Safety Summit in Minneapolis and our Bike-N-Brainstorms were hailed as a best practice by federal officials.”

A number of ideas offered by cyclists following two well-attended rides in Akron last year made their way into the 2012 Bike Plan, the agency’s long-term vision and priorities for bike transportation, andTransportation Outlook 2035, the area’s new long-range transportation plan.

 

Kent’s PARTA Multimodal Transit Center is Underway

February 13, 2013 in Connections, News, Portage

The Kent Central Gateway (KCG) multimodal facility is a planned transit center that will increase transit accessibility and emphasize multi-modal transportation in Kent, Ohio. This is a collaborative project with Portage Area Regional Transit Authority, the City of Kent, and Kent State University. The U.S. Department of Transportation selected the Kent Central Gateway as a recipient of a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant. The multimodal center was one of two transportation projects in Ohio and among 51 nationwide that received $1.5 billion from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Kent Central Gateway will be located between Haymaker Parkway (SR 59), E. Main Street (Kent Ravenna Rd), and S. Depeyster Street in Kent, Ohio. This location lies in downtown Kent within one-quarter mile of Kent State University and the Cuyahoga Riverfront. The Gateway Facility will be a catalyst for economic development that will contribute to a vibrant downtown that is seamlessly connected to the university campus. It will also be environmentally friendly by incorporating “green” design features and a model of sustainable development that emphasizes a diverse transportation system. The project is scheduled to be completed in July 2013. For more information about The Kent Central Gateway, visit the website.

The connection between Kent State University and the City of Kent was also recently highlighted in a New York Times article.

 

Greater Akron Growing Network for Sustainability

December 7, 2012 in Engagement, News, Portage, Summit, Sustainability

If you live in the Greater Akron and are interested in joining a growing sustainability network, you might want to check out the upcoming Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability (GAINS) meeting.

GAINS was launched over the last year.  The first meeting was inspired by a handful of people who are active and passionate local business owners and community members that knew each other through an organization called Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S).

From the organization’s Facebook page, membership is for…

Anyone who wants to be part of a growing network of people who care about what happens in regards to our environment and healthy community living. We want to help our Greater Akron area grow sustainably and to make smart decisions moving into the future. We are people who want to contribute, lend a hand, offer experienced insight, and have a good time while we do it.

To find out more about this growing sustainability network attend its upcoming meeting on December 12 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm (22 North High Street, Akron OH). There is no formal program this month. Instead, the core group will introduce themselves and open the floor for more networking.

 

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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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