Remarkably friendly winter weather has allowed the Summit Street contractors to keep on rolling with utility prep work and it’s looking like those of us who use Summit Street have about 1 more month before some serious construction gets started.
Serious construction means serious detours so the City and KSU have put together all kinds of information to try to help everyone understand what’s coming and how to survive what will likely be about 2 years of disrupted traffic patterns — that’s engineering speak for you’re better off avoiding Summit Street for the next 2 years if you can.
If you can’t avoid it, here’s a short video (with music accompaniment) that shows how to navigate it:
Not much reason to like construction detours of this magnitude other than appreciating the effort of trying to make accommodations for people who have no choice but to wade through it.
Like most things, once everyone figures out the new traffic patterns, things should settle down but unfortunately there’s no getting around the challenges of reconfiguring the busiest traffic corridor in Kent.
Here’s a reminder for what all that reconfiguring involves:
THE SPECIFIC IMPROVEMENTS INCLUDE:
New/extended turn lanes and traffic control systems at Lincoln Street, Morris and Loop Road intersections.
Elimination of one intersection at Risman Plaza.
Construction of a roundabout at the entrance to Risman Plaza and the Kent Student Center parking lot.
Construction of a new roundabout at Ted Boyd Drive (will replace the existing intersection).
Creation of a boulevard from Morris Road to East Campus Center Drive to improve the flow of traffic and make pedestrian crossings safer.
Addition of a left turn lane from Summit Street to Terrace Drive, which will eliminate the need for “no left turn” signs at that intersection.
Relocation of Campus Center Drive to align with the Student Green.
Addition of bike lanes on Summit Street throughout the entire length of the project.
A protected pedestrian actuated crossing system for the roundabout located at the intersection of Campus Center West, Summit Street and the entrance to Risman Plaza.
Addition of three mid-block pedestrian crossings where there is significant pedestrian traffic: Schwartz Center, Student Green and the Presbyterian Church.
New bus stops along the corridor, with shelters and lighting.
New lighting for the street and sidewalk areas.
Water quality improvements that will treat over 50 acres of watershed area before discharging into the storm sewer system.
Why go to all this effort and disruption? According to the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS), this section of Summit Street is the most congested roadway in Portage and Summit Counties. When funding was obtained for the project, four of the intersections along Summit Street were in the top six high-crash intersections in the City of Kent and 23% of all pedestrian crashes within the City of Kent occurred along the Summit Street project area.
Hopefully this will be one of those instances where in the end, we’ll all say it was painful getting there, but it was worth it.