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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."

MOST HATED PERSON ON PATCH December 12, 2011 at 07:29 PM
and it created the worst intersection in kent...
Chris (Kit) Myers December 12, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Well, somehow begging the federal government for the vast majority of the 27 million to build a brdge across the river and have it dead end on Water Street when we already had the Haymaker bridge seems rather inexcusable. I guess it's to be expected from a city council who screwed over a neighborhood by creating an overlay district. I am glad I have no grandchildren or great-grandchildren who will have to pay back the money the federal government borrows for such local government irresponsibility. How do some people sleep nights? But what do I know? I am just an old man who grew up in a time when people made do with what they had and could afford.
Jon Ridinger December 13, 2011 at 04:04 AM
Ahhh, how quickly this city has forgotten the drawn out process that this bridge was and a certain group called the "Crain Avenue Bridge Citizens Advisory Committee", which is largely responsible for coming up with the plan we now have. The original plan waaaay back when was to build a diagonal bridge connecting Crain and Fairchild. Crain Avenue area residents were most against this, so they came up with the present design. Here are some articles from the planning process. To simply blame the current council (over half of which wasn't even elected until at least 2008) ignores history: http://recordpub.com/news/article/87211 "Residents still unhappy with Crain proposal" (June 13, 2003) http://recordpub.com/news/article/111094 "Crain span plan moving ahead in Kent" (October 17, 2003) http://recordpub.com/news/article/84235 "Crain project set to get $4 million" (May 29, 2004) http://recordpub.com/news/article/62971 "Crain bridge details to finalize, Committee meeting Saturday to discuss design plans" (March 2, 2005) http://recordpub.com/news/article/1565001 "A second look in Kent Councilman's suggestion for simpler fix for Crain bridge worth exploring" (February 5, 2007) http://recordpub.com/news/article/1835161 "Comments sought for road plans" (April 10, 2007)
Jon Ridinger December 13, 2011 at 04:07 AM
Chris Myers, here's a link to your letter from 2008. I actually have never supported the current bridge design and wrote my own letter against it several years ago. Wish I could find it! http://recordpub.com/news/article/4067421
Wade December 13, 2011 at 12:04 PM
"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." Wait, wut? Can someone help me understand this? Is he saying they are going to stop left turns onto the bridge coming from downtown via N Water St? Or, is he saying left turns from 43 onto the bridge? Either way, not good for getting traffic to downtown businesses or flowing out of downtown going north or to Stow/Hudson via Fairchild.
Kelly Ferry December 13, 2011 at 12:20 PM
Twice in the past week I've been stopped at the light on 43 heading south into town at the bridge intersection, and large trucks coming off the bridge turning left onto 43 to get to Lake St. have been unable to successfully make that turn unless I and the 3-4 cars behind me all backed up. Worst intersection in Kent, indeed. They should have shaved another 10' off the front yards along that strip if they weren't going to consider the diagonal bridge.
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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