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.