Its probably no surprise that as a City that has set some lofty goals for being a more pedestrian friendly walkable City that we’re busy building new walking trails. I’ve mentioned the construction of the new bike trails around the River in both eastern and western parts of Kent but in-between we’ve also been busy partnering with the Franklin Township and Kent State University to provide better walking connections between neighborhoods and the University along Horning Road. If you thought partnerships could never happen I’m pleased to show pictures of how wrong you were. Building trails together may not sound like earth-shattering news but it’s the spirit that of collaboration that I’m most proud of.
There’s nothing like a sunny Fall day to inspire folks to pull out their walking or running shoes and get outdoors but unless we want to create a legion of street-walkers we need to make sure there’s good sidewalks and/or trails that will provide a safe and pleasant path to get people to their destination. With Kent State being such a common destination for neighborhoods around the University, the City of Kent, Franklin Township and Kent State University put their heads together to figure out a way to make sure they could get their safely.
What we saw along Horning Road were opportunities to do better. This time of year walking along the edge of the road may not seem so bad but I’ll never forget the images of people walking in the streets in the winter trying to fight their way through snowbanks and dodge oncoming traffic to get to Kent State. Seeing that made us realize we had to find a better solution.
Of course nothing is as easy as it sounds and as we started exploring the idea further we found that we had to cross political boundaries (Franklin Township and the City of Kent), private property and Kent State property to get where we wanted to go. We had to cross ditches, trees and driveways, and figure out ways to work with a lot of different slopes and drainage. All this is to say the City Engineers had their work cut out for them and to their credit they worked it all out. I make it sound simple by saying that worked it all out but it was anything but simple and frankly they pulled off a minor miracle to get everything to come together in the end.
To save money we decided to use City crews to do as much of the work as possible. Our Central Maintenance employees stepped up and juggled work tasks to be able to get started on this project in late September. If you have any reason to drive in that part of town you probably saw the detour re-routing that was in place to allow the crews access and keep them out of harm’s way as they work around the travel lanes of the road.
The project duration is expected to last until near the end of October depending upon how many unexpected work priorities pop up (like the windstorm). Which means there may be days when no work is performed on this project due to the fact that the city crews had to be assigned to other pressing emergency issues within the City.
If anyone has any questions about the project please feel free to contact Pat Homan at 330-676-7323.