Committee addresses safety on Summit

Joanne Bello

Every day, hundreds of Kent State students cross Summit Street, and most of them don’t feel safe doing so, said Kent Service Director Gene Roberts.

Roberts represents the city in the University Area Transportation Projects Citizens Advisory Committee.

The committee has been working on a project that it hopes will reduce congestion, improve safety and allow transit systems to move more smoothly along Summit Street. They met on Tuesday to try to finalize a draft to present to City Council and the university.

The Kent City Council commissioned the committee to focus on three possible future projects: The Summit Street project, the Terrace Area Parking Accommodation and a multimodal facility.

The committee is made up of representatives from Kent city staff, the university and the public. University representatives are involved because a good portion of the traffic on Summit Street comes from students, Roberts said.

According to the Summit Street purpose and needs statement, the project will focus on:

• improvements to traffic signals and intersections

• pedestrian facilities

• smart crossings

• boulevards and medians

• landscaping

• barriers

• shade trees

• sheltered arcades

“Part of the process is to work with engineers to address problems like the intersection of Terrace and Summit where people feel uncomfortable crossing,” said Tom Clapper, the Kent State transportation services representative.

The Terrace and Summit Street intersection is just one of many that students have to cross on a daily basis to get to classes, work, their cars or home.

“I feel like I’m going to get hit every time I cross Summit,” said Kelly Anderson, senior justice studies major. “There is so much traffic, and they are trying to rush, so they don’t pay attention to the people walking.”

A pedestrian was struck by a van Tuesday on Summit Street across from the Science and Research building. The accident took place during rush hour.

Accidents such as this one are what the committee hopes it can fix by using Context Sensitive Design in all the projects. The design theory takes into consideration aesthetics and environmental resources while maintaining safety and mobility.

The committee will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9, at the Kentway Senior Citizens Apartment’s community room located at 360 E. Summit St. The members of the committee will be discussing the project with the public for feedback before presenting to Kent State and City Council.

Contact public affairs reporter Joanne Bello at [email protected].