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."