City, University of Akron & volunteers to build Exchange Street bike lanes

The City of Akron and The University of Akron (UA) invite the community to join the Hands on Exchange project from August 11 – 15. Volunteers and stakeholders will help build the Exchange Street bike lanes, with the assistance of City staff and technical consultants.

Cities and citizens around the world are using low-cost, short-term projects to advance long-term planning goals. Often referred to as “Tactical Urbanism,” this approach represents a growing urban design movement focused on leveraging small, scalable interventions to improve the livability of towns and cities. 

Thanks to funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the City of Akron Engineering Department and The University of Akron have brought this approach to Akron with the upcoming construction of the Exchange Street bike lanes.

“As City leaders, our goal is to engage our citizens in making decisions about how to best design and develop our public spaces, including streets and other infrastructure,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “This project will allow us to gather feedback from residents, students, businesses, pedestrians, and partner agencies before permanently redesigning Exchange Street into a more functional, safe, accessible and valuable corridor that meets the needs of all users.”

In anticipation of Exchange Street’s city-led 2021 redesign, the project team will work with volunteers to test new types of bicycle infrastructure. As a result of several workshops with City and community officials, as well as residents and visitors of the area, a plan was created for a two-way bicycle lane on the north side of Exchange Street, which also includes improvements to crosswalks and bus stops along the route.

“This process allows Akron residents and university stakeholders to play a hands-on role in shaping a street they use every day. The new bike lanes will showcase the power of civic engagement, resulting in a public space designed with and for people,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Akron program director for Knight Foundation.

UA Vice President of Development Kim Cole said, “We have a strong interest in enhancing our Exchange Street front lawn and our students’ access to the life and community that surrounds campus. This project will be a great step in that direction.” 

Upcoming dates to note:

–        Team Prep Session, August 10 @ 6:30pm // InfoCision Stadium, X Floor

–        Build Days, August 11-15, 8am-6pm // Tent on Exchange St. & South Union St.

–        Bike Party Celebration, August 17 @ 7pm-10pm // 354 East Exchange St.

Volunteers are directed to the check-in tent at the intersection of Exchange Street and South Union Street. To learn more about the project, sign up to volunteer or to take our survey, go to: https://bit.ly/2sGJI3n or email John Gonzalez – john@streetplans.org.