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Fencing at New Bike Trail Bridge is Permanent

Railroad requires barrier against attempted crossing of tracks

Fencing along the Portage Hike and Bike Trail at the new pedestrian bridge over the Cuyahoga River in Kent is permanent. Credit: Marilyn Sessions
Fencing along the Portage Hike and Bike Trail at the new pedestrian bridge over the Cuyahoga River in Kent is permanent. Credit: Marilyn Sessions
Kent residents eagerly await the official opening of the new pedestrian bridge adjacent to the Fairchild Avenue Bridge.

While they wait, some trail enthusiasts are asking why there's no link to the new bridge from the east side of the Cuyahoga River near the intersection of Crain Avenue, Lake and North Water streets.

In October 2012 Kent Patch explained why there is no connection to the trail and users are instead forced to cross the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge to access the new pedestrian bridge, which links to The Portage Hike and Bike Trail heading east towards Beckwith Orchards.

In short, the Akron-Barberton Cluster Railway would not permit another at-grade crossing of the railroad tracks.

So, essentially for now users of the trail are barred from directly accessing the trail from the Lake Street area or from leaving the trail to access that area of the city without first using the new pedestrian bridge to cross the river and then crossing back over via the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge.
Benjamin J. Plough August 02, 2013 at 08:36 AM
Why not connect the trail to the road bridge? Probably similar in cost to 300 foot of fencing.
Alan Goldstein August 02, 2013 at 12:17 PM
@Ben, I was saying the same thing in discussing this last night with my wife. It seems like a simple solution. Or the city can step up and tell the railroad that they are coming through our city and the city is in charge and should make the rules, not the railroad. Does the city even get any monetary benefit from the railroad being here to let them be the bully?
Benjamin J. Plough August 02, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Yeah, it is simple fix but due to the lack of foresight and lethargic pace of government funded projects, it will only be done in many years, if ever.
Desmo August 02, 2013 at 02:17 PM
@Alan: The railroad is on their own property and determine exactly how many crossings that they want. The best the city can do is ask the railroad for another crossing - which they have already done to no avail. The bike path cannot extend to the Fairchild bridge since it would encroach on railroad property, so that plan is out...which leaves the way it currently is. Also, the railroad line services the Star of the West grain mill. Judging by how busy they have been, I'd think that the city receives a considerable amount of income tax plus the normal property taxes as monetary benefits.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! August 02, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Interesting. What about all the other crossings people use to access the hike and bike trail? Leaving no access for people doesn't make the new bridge that appealing. The prospect of going over the bridge only to cross the other, less pedestrian/bike friendly bridge makes no sense. Also, it is apparently illegal to ride on the sidewalks... So...
Koogle August 02, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Desmo, Does the bike path currently encroach on railroad property? If so, would extending the cattle corral, er, bike path south to the Fairchild bridge be any different? http://www.grandin.com/gifs/cattle.corral.sorting.jpg
Desmo August 02, 2013 at 07:13 PM
@ Mary: Do the other access points cross the railroad? If so, the RR has a pedestrian crossing or they are being crossed illegally. Also, I thought that the "no bikes on sidewalks" was only for the buisiness district (downtown). @Koogle: No, the bike path does not encroach. If it would, the RR would not allow it to be built and then the little bovines, er bikers, would have to take Riverbend to SR 43 and down to Fairchild in order to get to to the east side.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! August 02, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Of course. Would I have reason to post such things if it were nonsense? Or, should I ask, are you living under a rock? Come, enjoy the community and hang with the people who inhabit it. The real people, not the manager or others in such a "high" position. Last year when we were crossing one of the "illegal" and highly valuable (as in convenient) crossings I spoke with a Kent City police officer who was inquiring about access to the hike and bike trail for a marathon. I was never told it was illegal to access the trail from such an access point. Many, many, MANY people cross those tracks on a daily basis. And honestly, WHY NOT?!?! We are not cattle. No need for a corral. Ah, insurance and lawyers. Between the two of them, it spells disaster and the end of the world. No other creature on this planet sees our imaginary divisions of land. We are ALL on this same lone planet, together. For better, or worse. And lawyers just muck it up with their mumbo jumbo. No real life in them. Just mumbo jumbo. Which doesn't taste nearly as good as gumbo...
Desmo August 03, 2013 at 10:32 AM
That soapboxing is all well and good until someone gets hit by a train.
Stanley August 03, 2013 at 11:57 AM
This fence is the most ludicrous thing yet. I for one, living on the East side of it will not walk around to access, we will access from this side. Absolutely no reason for this, none...none...none. We had access both ways before, I doubt a pedestrian is more likely to cause a hazard than a car. At this point then the whole project was a waste of money and a joke.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! August 03, 2013 at 01:15 PM
Oh, come on. How many people in and around Kent have been hit by a train when crossing to access the hike/bike trail? Some kids have ended their own lives throughout the years by lying down on the tracks, but no one "accidentally" stepped into front of a train. Trains aren't exactly quiet or easy to miss. Ever try sleeping in Kent with your windows open? The train whistles are so loud they darn near blow the sheets right off the bed. Calling the expression of my opinion in a comment section soapboxing is ridiculous. By your definition, aren't you soapboxing, too? Or wait, are we just commenting in the comment section? Gasp! If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. Noam Chomsky
Desmo August 03, 2013 at 10:13 PM
It's not soapboxing when you're telling the actual facts of why the fence is connected the way it is, and the reasoning behind it. If you don't believe that people don't accidentally get hit by trains, do a google search for it and see what you get. Remember, the railroad owns the property...so everytime you cross them at a location which isn't a designated crossing, you are trespassing - it's just that simple. Sadly, people don't get it.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! August 04, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Oddly, that officer, who happens to enforce the laws, said NOTHING about trespassing or accessing the hike and bike trail illegally. And tell me, in and around Kent, how many people have been hit by trains? Excluding the poor kids who committed suicide. People get hit, but they get hit far more often by cars who don't respect pedestrians crossing the street.
Freezing Rain August 05, 2013 at 06:37 AM
Ownership is slavery. Property is murder. Noam Chomsky.
Desmo August 05, 2013 at 07:27 AM
Yes, people do get hit - and there is no need to increase the chance of being one of those people. If the problem becomes big enough, you can bet that the police officers will start enforcing trasspassing laws at the request of the railroad. I mean, come on...in an era where people sue for slipping on ice in winter (duh), one can only image what can be concocted in a courtroom to put blame on the railroad for someone being hit. I know it seems like common sense to get off of the tracks when a train is coming, but common sense is not very common. Because of this, these projects have to be built for THAT person. You are correct about pedestrian vs. cars, but that's a whole different subject. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Some Smart Guy.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! August 05, 2013 at 09:41 AM
Once again, back to lawyers being the worst thing to happen to mankind. And I do agree, common sense is not very common. Like the people who hang out and toy with the river when they themselves can't swim. Doesn't make for the best end to a summer day.
Benjamin J. Plough August 06, 2013 at 06:40 AM
That particular stretch of track runs one three-car train daily, going about 15 mph.

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