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Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study looking for ways to make Akron bike friendly

Construction is scheduled for 2022 on the Rubber City Heritage Trail, which would connect to the Towpath Trial in Kenmore. Details for the proposed Akron-to-Hudson Veterans Trail are still being worked out.
Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition
The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study is hosting a Bike-N-Brainstorm event to seek feedback on how Akron's Middlebury neighborhood can become more bike friendly.

The Bike-N-Brainstorm event will return to Akron’s Middlebury neighborhood on Sept. 23. The event will include a four-mile bike ride, free food and an opportunity to give community feedback to the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study.

The event will help the group plan for future projects including the Rubber City Heritage Trail project and improvements on East Market Street, said Planning Administrator Matt Stewart.

“There has been a lot that's been done in recent years in the Middlebury neighborhood in terms of bicycle infrastructure, but there's actually a fair amount planned too,” he said. “East Market Street is going to be repaved, and there's been discussion about possibly putting bike lanes on the road and even going so far as to do a road diet, so there are a lot of ideas in the works.”

Past Bike-N-Brainstorm events have been instrumental in city planning, Stewart said.

“Some of our Bike-N-Brainstorm events have led to full planning studies. They've also eventually led to the funding of projects, so yeah, we get a lot of good feedback,” he said.

The event will feature several giveaways including free bike lights and bells. Blimp City Bike & Hike and Summit Cycling Center will offer free bike safety checks and basic tune-ups prior to the ride. Akron Food Works will also provide free food after the ride for the first time.

Community members that do not own a bike can also participate. AMATS will provide free bikes and scooters for those who need them. Reserve one ahead of time by emailing pjividen@akronohio.gov.

The event is free to the public. Participants should arrive at 647 East Market Street in Akron at 10:30 a.m. to register to ride. The four-mile ride will begin at 11 a.m. with two short stops along the way. The ride will conclude at noon.

Stewart said it is important to get feedback from the community.

“I think any time decision makers are even thinking about making improvements in an area it makes a lot of sense to reach out to the people who will most likely be benefiting from those improvements,” he said.

Grace Springer is a journalism student at Kent State University. She is the General Assignment Editor for KentWired and covers executive administration for student media.