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Traffic Down on Crain Ave. After New Bridge Opens

Goal of new Fairchild Avenue Bridge to reduce cut-through traffic in Crain Avenue neighborhood

Residents of Crain Avenue are enjoying a reduction in traffic thanks to construction on, and the opening of, the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge.

The number of cars driving on Crain Avenue fell 55 percent, according to traffic counts conducted two weeks Oct. 27.

"That was a big change," Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling said. “The big concern was that those people were going to go down Water Street. They didn’t."

One of the original design intentions of the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge was to eliminate the direct intersection with Crain Avenue and, therefore, reduce cut-through traffic on the neighborhood street coming from the Kent State University campus and S.R. 43. The intent was to direct traffic down South Mantua Street to Haymaker Parkway.

Bowling said traffic on South Water Street only increased by 130 cars per day after the new bridge opened.

"So that means, and it’s reflected in the traffic counts, they didn’t cross the bridge," he said. "They stayed on (S.R.) 43."

Along with the new alignment, the bridge project included with North Water Street with the goal of making the road look more like a subdivision entrance — and further reducing traffic there.

But Bowling recognizes that months of construction, including a partial closure of Crain Avenue, could have contributed to the reduction in cut-through traffic.

"We have to believe that part of it is that all summer we trained the drivers not to go that way," he said. "We believe that as they get used to the new intersection, that more people will probably go down Crain. However, once they do, next year we’re prohibiting left turns coming onto the bridge as we finish (S.R.) 43, so again we’re doing to redirect traffic away from this area as we finish construction."

Rebekah Cotton December 13, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Good luck turning left without the green arrow. If you need to turn from Fairchild onto 43 North at around 5pm, you may as well bring a book. You'll be sitting at the light until it turns red again. I've started avoiding this intersection at busy times. It's a mess.
Laurel Myers Hurst December 13, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Is Central Maintenance telling the new businesses currently building out on N. Water (and established businesses that survived the construction era) that they are going to shunt traffic away from them?
Teresa K. December 13, 2011 at 03:18 PM
I, too, think this bridge /intersection set up is the worst in Kent. I would go so far as to say the worst in Ravenna, Stow, and Brimfield intersections too. What a mess. I dont see the benefit of this bridge compared to the Crain Ave. one. The only difference is a bigger mess NOW than before. Big mess and waste of time and money. The turn from Lake Street onto Water is unacceptable- likewise from Water to Lake. Terrible turn for the truckers needing through there. Someone needs fired.
MOST HATED PERSON ON PATCH December 13, 2011 at 07:21 PM
"normal" sized cars consistently cross double yellow in both directions at the lake/water corner. the intersection itself is a terrible bottleneck with seemingly no rhyme or reason to it. all this to calm crain ave traffic what. twice a day? i guess it's too late to do anything about it now, but this is the worst traffic planning i've ever seen, besides parking on the bridge. also it is not a safe area for pedestrians or bicyclists at all.
Jon Ridinger December 13, 2011 at 10:05 PM
For all of you complaining, where were you when this design was being planned and presented? It has been known since at least 2005 that this was going to happen and hardly anyone said a word. I have said since this idea was first presented it was a horrible design. Fixed one intersection and ruined another one. Sigh. Do bear in mind, the Lake Street part isn't done yet and N. Water will have another turn lane onto Fairchild (currently blocked off). The project still has another year left. The banning of left turns onto Fairchild from Mantua is going to be temporary because as all of us know, there's a nice dip on 43 right before the old Crain Avenue bridge that will have to be removed. When they do that, 43 will likely be reduced to 2 lanes at that point, so left turns from there will have to be banned because they will clog traffic up in a hurry. Not sure how long that will be.

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