About a year ago a couple of Kent State University folks had an opportunity to hear Dr. Spence Havlick speak at a national conference regarding innovations in transportation planning. Impressed with his knowledge and practical experience as both a University Professor and a Councilmember in Boulder Colorado, the Departments of Geography and Transportation Services at Kent State invited Dr. Havlick to visit Kent this week to share his insights and lessons learned when it comes to improving transportation in a college town. He’ll be in Kent this week and you’re invited to join him on February 7, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. in KSU Franklin Hall, 3rd Floor in the Collaborative Classroom. He’s a bright guy and a great presenter so I this should be a very interesting evening.
On a relative scale our traffic in Kent is in pretty good shape but we can always make it better which is why I’m interested to hear what Dr. Havlick has to say. The fact that he’s served both as a researcher in studying transportation innovations and as a practioner (Councilmember) in doing transportation innovations for the City of Boulder makes what he has to say particularly interesting — and hopefully insightful.
I was thinking about our traffic problem spots in Kent and we actually have a number of projects on the books that should bring relief to these locations over the next 5 years. With signal coordination work planned for Summit Street and SR 59, and with the new Crain/Fairchild Avenue bridge project in its early stages, the City has some improvements in the making that should increase safety and traffic flow in these corridors.
Having been in Boulder myself and knowing their community pride for being a progressive city, I’m hoping that much of what Dr. Havlick will talk about will be innovative stuff and and the kinds of collaborative planning that they helped make happen between the city, the university, residents and the business community.
For example, as a former traffic manager myself, I know that traffic engineers hate mid-block crossings for pedestrians yet people prefer to walk the shortest distance between two points which often puts them crossing through traffic mid-block. I thought Boulder came up with a pretty innovation solution, they installed yellow flashing lights that they embedded in the street at certain mid-block crossings that were activated by pedestrians to give them better visibility and protection. I also heard that they’re so committed to promoting walking and biking that they actually plow the paved walking/biking trails before they plow residential streets. I have to admit that’s really practicing what you preach.
We don’t have the Flat-Irons in Kent but we do have a lot of students just like Boulder and I’m anxious to hear how Boulder encouraged students to leave their cars at home and take the bus, ride a bike or walk.
Here’s the notice on Dr. Spence’s visit: