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No Trail Connection from Lake Street to The Portage

Bicyclists and pedestrians will have to use new bridge to access trail near intersection of Lake and North Water streets

Cyclists looking to access the section of The Portage Hike and Bike Trail that spans from Lake Street to Lake Rockwell Road will not be able to jump on the trail in Kent from the east side of the Cuyahoga River.

The new pedestrian bridge under construction as part of the Fairchild Avenue Bridge project will link directly to the existing trail, which dead-ends next to Weiss Motors and Knapp's Collision and the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway tracks.

Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling said the railroad would not permit a new crossing of the train tracks to allow direct access to the bike trail for pedestrians and cyclists.

"They don’t care if it’s a sidewalk, bike path or a street," Bowling said. "We had one crossing before (construction). They allowed us one crossing when we were done. So the actual way to get to the trail from the east side would be to go over the new bridge and pick it up on the west side” of the Cuyahoga River.

Traci Monroe November 01, 2012 at 11:47 AM
How does the RR have so much power? Why don't they have to comply with what the city wants?
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! November 01, 2012 at 01:37 PM
How inconvenient. So those on the east side of the river we will have to cross the Fairchild bridge and deal with that headache before hopping on the hike and bike trail?
William Gibson November 01, 2012 at 02:21 PM
The railroads are very powerful and I can certainly understand them wanting to keep intersections to a minimum, however, I can't believe this is new information and certainly seems to be an oversight in the initial planning of the project.
Jim Williams November 01, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Yes, and I'm sure no one will create a path on their own by carrying their bikes over the tracks. It will be well-worn within a few months, and inevitably made permanent within a year. Hopefully before someone gets hurt and, rightly or wrongly, sues the RR or the city/county for negligence. It's the American Way.
Jim Williams November 01, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Also, wasn't that pedestrian bridge created to make a safer crossing for kids walking to/from Roosevelt? Do they also have to detour to the main bridge? Silliness all around.
Allan Orashan November 01, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Thoughtless insensitivity on the part of rail road bureaucrats. What is the problem with an east side access?
Desmo November 01, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Money.
Jon Ridinger November 01, 2012 at 06:03 PM
It's neither new nor oversight. This was known at the very early planning meetings, long before construction started. This was one of the reasons I was opposed to the whole design. I remember this very point being discussed at the meeting (2005?) and why, but no mention was made in any of the media reports the next day. I tried mentioning it and bringing it up to people in later discussions about the project, but no one seemed to care. As for the purpose of the pedestrian bridge, it's main purpose is simply to carry the pipes and other utilities that were under the Crain Avenue bridge. Those pipes are in bedrock, so moving them would've been very expensive. It has nothing to do with safety or convenience of pedestrians since they can easily cross the new bridge (even though the new bridge is further to the south). Why do the railroads have so much "power"? Because it is their land. Every railroad crossing presents a liability, so for them, the fewer the better. It was made very clear early on that the railroad would only grant one crossing in this area, so as soon as the new bridge opened, the Crain Avenue crossing was transferred there. Seeing as the Fairchild crossing also includes pedestrians, there was absolutely no real argument for the necessity of retaining the Crain Avenue crossing just for pedestrians.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! November 02, 2012 at 01:40 PM
It they wanted to make it safer for kids walking to and from Roosevelt, the city would shovel the sidewalks on BOTH sides of Rt 43 from the high school to downtown. Kids trudging through feet of dirty snow and being booted into the road to get around piles pushed into the sidewalk by bad neighbors are incredibly dangerous. It's amazed me for years that no kids get smashed on the road between the high school and downtown. Between those with blatant disregard of the school zone speed limit to those speeding down 43 on a regular basis, the kids have a tough gauntlet to run to get home. Yet I never hear anyone pushing for safer passage for students. Not to mention the city could have handled the construction better because closing sidewalks when kids have to walk down them to get home isn't the best idea either. Jon R. pointed out the bridge isn't for safety, it is only there because it is cheaper to build the "pedestrian bridge". Though it really is only to house pipes and cables. The silly pedestrian bridge is as much for our safety as Issue 11 is...
William Gibson November 02, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Jon, Any idea how the Railroad end of the pedestrian bridge will be terminated? Will it be open to the tracks or will there be some barrier required so it doesn't indicate a "crossing"? This is pretty interesting misalignment of the City plan vs. Railroad requirment.
Matt Fredmonsky November 02, 2012 at 02:29 PM
William, the bridge's east end will lead directly to the bike path. There will be a railing because the trail elevation will be higher than the railroad tracks, but there will be no intentional blockade between the railroad and the bike path. If you look at the pictures you'll see there's a fair amount of room between the bridge and the upper tracks.
joekbrown November 02, 2012 at 08:16 PM
The solution seems obvious, just extend the bike path south to Fairchild Avenue between the top of the riverbank and the railroad track.
Kentguy February 04, 2013 at 06:53 PM
I think extending the trail to the bridge on the east side is a simple solution. You can cross the tracks and take a quick right to hop right on the path and/or use the pedestrian bridge.

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