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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.

 

Less than 1 week… Will you help create NEO’s Future?

April 24, 2013 in Engagement, Scenario Planning

What are you doing April 30, May 1 or May 2?  Creating NEO’s Future Depends on You?

Speak up and voice your opinions about OUR home!

What brought you to Northeast Ohio?

What keeps you here?

What do you value most about Northeast Ohio?

What will keep you and your family here in the future?

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) will be hosting a series of workshops to create a vision for a Vibrant NEO in the year 2040. Workshops will be two hours long and will be held at various locations throughout the region.  Please feel free to pick the time and location that is most convenient for you, regardless of your county of residence.

Your help is needed to help NEOSCC focus the workshops on issues that are most important to YOU – today and in the future!

CLICK ON THE BLUE LINKS BELOW TO REGISTER! ALL WORKSHOPS WILL BEGIN 6:30 PM.

April 30

Oberlin (Lorain, Medina, and western Cuyahoga)
The Oberlin Inn, 7 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

Warren (Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula)
John F. Kennedy High School, 2550 Central Pkwy Ave SE, Warren, OH 44484

May 1

Cleveland (Central Cuyahoga and inner-ring suburbs)
Third Federal Savings & Loan (Auditorium), 7007 Broadway Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44105

Canton (Wayne and Stark)
The Metropolitan Centre, 601 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton, OH  44702

May 2

Akron (Summit and Portage)
Akron Urban League, 440 Vernon Odom Boulevard, Akron, OH 44307

Warrenville Hts. (Lake, eastern Cuyahoga, and Geauga)
Corporate College – East, 4400 Richmond Road, Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

Hey! – SAVE THE DATE – Vibrant NEO Public Work Shops

March 6, 2013 in Engagement, News, Scenario Planning

What are Vibrant NEO 2040 and Scenario Planning?

VibrantNEO 2040’s scenarios will tell stories about our possible futures, based on where Northeast Ohio is today and the choices we might make about how we use our land and how we invest our resources. Once we create these scenarios, we will be able to compare how successful they are at achieving our common goals for the region, judge which choices would be best for Northeast Ohio’s future, and create a shared vision and framework for the future around those choices.

You are invited to attend an upcoming workshop to share your voice in the conversation. We have selected six city locations throughout the region for your convenience. Pick a date and location that works for you!

April 30:

Oberlin (Lorain, Medina, and western Cuyahoga)

Warren (Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula)

May 1:

Cleveland (Central Cuyahoga and inner-ring suburbs)

Canton (Wayne and Stark)

May 2:

Akron (Summit and Portage)

Warrenville Hts. (Lake, eastern Cuyahoga, and Geauga)

ALL WORKSHOPS WILL BEGIN 6:30 PM.

Exact locations and registration will be available soon.

University Park Alliance awarded $8 million by Knight Foundation

January 14, 2013 in News, Quality Connected Places, Summit

The neighborhood development group University Park Alliance has been awarded nearly $8 million to continue building Akron’s urban core. University Park Alliance is a non-profit community development corporation dedicated to the importance of ‘place-making’.

 

University Park Alliance describes their Vision:
We envision University Park as an exciting opportunity to return to a traditional urban neighborhood where interesting people live, great ideas thrive and community is key. And we see a clear path for getting there. Our strategy is to capitalize on the economic synergy of the great institutions already anchored throughout this geography—including a major university, three excellent hospitals, a bio-tech institute, three brand new schools—and develop a dense, walkable neighborhood with diverse cultural offerings, great healthcare, quality education and plenty of recreational and leisure opportunities. In essence, our mission is to build a ‘sense of place’ between these strong anchors. To do so, University Park Alliance has created a redevelopment Master Plan and is implementing a five-year Strategic Plan that focuses our efforts around four programmatic areas: Real Estate Development, Economic Development, Social and Human Capital Development, and Community/Civic Engagement Development.

On December 18, 2012, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced it was awarding UPA a $6 million grant over five years to work with neighborhood residents, local businesses and city institutions.

The foundation is also giving UPA a $1.8 million low-interest loan, which will support the redevelopment of the area called University Square. Officials call it “a linchpin of the alliance’s master plan that will provide housing and shopping for both students and residents.”

To read more on the award, read the original Ohio.com coverage here.

What Can I Do Today?

 

A Visit to Summit County

November 21, 2012 in 12 County Tours, Board Meetings, Summit

Akron Urban League

As a conclusion to the first half of our 12 Counties in 12 Months program, NEOSCC will be taking our board meeting to Summit County on Tuesday, November 27.  This will cap a six month tour of Mahoning, Lorain, Stark, Cuyahoga, Ashtabula and Summit.  To avoid potential weather difficulties in the winter months, we will be restarting the tour in April with the remaining six counties.  NEOSCC counts many organizations as part of our board member organizations: the City of Akron, Summit County, Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS), Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, Akron Urban League, Summit County Health District and NEFCO.

Prior to the meeting, Summit County leaders will introduce NEOSCC board members to local assets and successful projects via a bus tour. While traveling around the county, the group will discuss the Summit Lake Community Center, Bridgestone, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the University Park Alliance, The Austen BioInnovation Institute, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Highland Square, Downtown Akron and the National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM School.

Highland Square Neighborhood

Our meeting will take place at the Akron Urban League at 1:00 pm.  All of our board meetings are open to the public, so if you have time, please stop by.

What Can I Do Today?

Have a Great Holiday Weekend!

 

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.

 

 
What Can I Do Today?

Act: Add your voice to transportation projects!

October 26, 2012 in ACT, Communications, MPOS

A significant component of NEOSCC’s leadership are the four Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Northeast Ohio.

What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization? You can find out in the following presentation - NEOSCC_Overview_101_What is an MPO.  Here is some quick background:

 

NEOSCC and the Vibrant NEO 2040 planning process includes the following MPO’s and their county jurisdictions:

The two other counties Ashtabula and Wayne County that are part of the Vibrant NEO 2040 effort are covered through Councils of Governments.  This is a topic that will be covered soon in the Vibrant Daily.

As part of their planning process, the MPO’s each reach out to the public and stakeholders to participate and contribute their opinions.  This range of participation opportunities includes Civic Involvement Committees, public forums and meetings on different transportation issues and public comment periods on proposed projects and plans. Check out their websites for information on adding your voice to their planning processes.

Here are two opportunities to act on today!  The first is for those that fall into the counties within the NOACA MPO.  The second is an engagement opportunity through ODOT for anyone is the state.

NOACA 

NOACA is currently seeking public feed back on transportation projects in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina Counties.

The following proposed transportation improvements are available for public review and comment. Staff will present these projects for information at the October 19, 2012 meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC will take action on the projects at their November 16, 2012 meeting. The Governing Board will consider adding them to the region’s long-range transportation plan and Transportation Improvement Program on December 14, 2012.

Each project page contains a comment link for local government representatives, and the general public. The public can comment on any of these projects through Thursday, December 13, 2012.

Cuyahoga County:

Geauga County:

Lake County:

Lorain County:

Medina County:

Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)

ODOT is currently seeking input for the Access Ohio 2040, Ohio’s Long-Range Statewide Transportation Plan. This is an opportunity for you to provide input into the Plan.

ODOT is updating Ohio’s Statewide Transportation Plan, Access Ohio 2040.  This plan is important to Ohio’s future, as it will set the stage for ODOT’s transportation policies and investment strategies for the coming years.  This is an update to the previous plan, Access Ohio 2030, which was released in 2004.   ODOT will be finalizing the plan update in the summer of 2013.  Access Ohio 2040 will help to ensure that we meet our mission, “to provide easy movement of people and goods from place to place.”

The State is using a technology called MindMixer to gather insight and opinions on transportation issues.

Access the interactive platform.

What Can I Do Today?