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Akron is Moving Back to Two-Way Traffic on Some Downtown Streets

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Sections of Exchange and Cedar streets near Akron Children’s Hospital will be converted from one-way to two-way streets early next year.

The hospital convinced officials that the change will make it safer for ambulance traffic and easier for visitors to get to the hospital and to other destinations downtown.  Other Northeast Ohio cities are eliminating or considering doing away with one-way streets as well.

Terry Schwarz is director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, which has done one-way street conversion studies for North Canton and Elyria, and is working on one for the area of downtown Akron where the Innerbelt interchange is being removed.

She says the studies are "looking at ways that two-way streets can make businesses more accessible, have more, kind of, pedestrian amenities, and really just slow down the traffic; you don’t want your city to be a drive-through sort of place, but a place for people to explore.”

Schwarz say two-way streets are also safer for pedestrians. She says one-way streets gained popularity in the 1960s and 70s because they are a quicker way to get suburban commuters in and out of downtown areas.