Hands on Exchange

From Saturday, August 11th to Sunday, August 12th Street Plans, the University of Akron, and about 50 total volunteers installed a two-way protected bike lane on the north side of East Exchange Street between Arc Drive and Goodkirk Street. Funded by the Knight Foundation, Hands on Exchange tested new bikeway infrastructure on this portion of Exchange Street in anticipation of the City-led redesign of the street to take place in 2022.

The project kicked off in the Fall of 2017. Street Plans conducted two public workshops over the course of the design process to solicit ideas from the community, and worked alongside the City of Akron and METRO to carefully incorporate the bus routes along the corridor. After several meetings, four bus stops were either relocated or consolidated to make for more efficient traffic flow along Exchange Street, and the design of the bike lane at the bus stops was finalized. The City installed curb ramps at the bus stops to allow for people to safely cross the bike lane to board the bus– which no longer had to pull to the curb at each stop. The goal was to incorporate multiple transportation modes (driving, biking, walking, and transit) in such a way that each would be aware of the other, and inform the design of future projects.

About 9,000 sq. ft. were painted with green or tan traffic paint and about 380 flex stakes were placed along the .75-mile route to bring this project to life. Local businesses along the corridor sponsored free drinks, lunch, and snacks during the build days to all the volunteers that joined the project team.

To execute the project, Street Plans established four stations at the beginning intersection of each segment of the bike lane, and had volunteers work from west to east until each task for each station was completed. Eighty percent of the work was completed in the first day!

The project culminated in a bike party celebration on Friday, August 17th, attended by 100 community members and hosted by the University of Akron. The party had live music, food, and included a celebratory ride with attendees down the bike lane.

The project team hopes that this project not only further informs the City of Akron’s efforts to create multimodal streets, but that it also makes Exchange Street a safer place for all users.  

Check out some photos of the installation during the build days and of the final product below!

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