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Akron's Main Street Re-Do Gets $8 Million And Construction Could Begin This Year

photo of Akron Main Street project

Akron now has $13 million to put toward its re-making of Main Street, thanks to a second federal grant. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia takes a looks at the planned transformation.

The goal of the project is to make the stretch of Main Street from Perkins to Cedar greener, safer and more walkable in two phases. Phase I -- south of Mill Street -- is being funded in part by $5 million awarded in 2016 from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or "TIGER," grants. This week, the city got another $8 million for the rest of the project.

City Planning Director Jason Segedy says the changes will include skid-proof sidewalks for people with disabilities,. Construction is slated to start this year.

“We’re going to put a two-way protected bike lane. That’s a bike lane that has a physical separation between the cyclists and the cars. There’s going to be a new roundabout at Mill Street and Main Street.”

Segedy adds that a two-way bike lane – with a traffic barrier -- is planned for the entire length of Main Street between Cedar and Perkins, and could lead to additional protected bike lanes in Akron in the future.Segedy says the changes could help attract private investment along Main Street, which in turn should help Akron towards its goal of adding 50,000 new residents by the year 2050.

Phase I will also replace angled street parking with parallel parking, and add a roundabout at Mill Street. Phase II would start in about three years and include changes in front of the FirstEnergy Building.

“The TIGER grant we just received, a lot of that part of Main Street has that media barrier down the middle of it. We haven’t designed it yet, but I imagine that will probably come out, and we will re-think what the street looks like along that stretch.”

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.