Transportation projects planned for Kent

Caitlyn Wachovec

Funding has been approved for the Crain Avenue Bridge project, and construction will begin this summer, said officials at last night’s Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study meeting.

AMATS Study Director Jason Segedy said the bridge is among some of the short-term projects that already have transportation funding. To improve safety conditions and traffic flow, AMATS plans to replace the bridge and improve turn lanes and signals.

About a dozen people attended the meeting in the Kent Free Library for a public discussion about the Transportation Outlook Plan that will be implemented over the next two decades. The regional transportation plan is for Portage and Summit counties and a portion of Wayne County.

The next couple of years are going to produce changes along Summit Street, too. Segedy said he hopes the project will incorporate bike lanes, pedestrian improvements and parking.

“I think a lot of it is the good intention to try to get the cars and the pedestrians and the bikes a little more separated,” he said.

After the study was done, AMATS also recommended widening state Route 43 through Streetsboro to four lanes.

“Widening 43 would be devastating to many, many homes,” Twin Lakes resident Ted Voneida said.

Segedy reassured the attendees that the recommendation is not approved to be implemented in their plan. He said there was too much opposition from people in the involved communities.

Of the people who attended the meeting, most expressed their concern for using transportation to attract and keep businesses and citizens in the area.

AMATS Transportation Planner Curtis Baker said the conundrum is that higher education is available in the region, but there aren’t any jobs, and people are leaving the area.

“I want my taxes to go to something that’s going to bring jobs,” said Michael Ondecker, chairman of the Citizen Involvement Committee.

It comes down to the perception of the city and the jobs available, Baker said.

AMATS is scheduled to approve Transportation Outlook in March. Segedy said after public input and cities applying for various transportation plans, “we have the ability to amend and update the plan.”

Contact public affairs reporter Cailtyn Wachovec at [email protected].