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Environment & Energy

Akron Tries to Figure Out How to Connect Through Cycling

Photo of Akron ride
M.L. SCHULTZE
/
WKSU public radio
The 3-mile ride in west Akron included areas with protected bike lanes and wide-open roads.

Akron is holding three days of events this week to try to figure out what it will take to make the city more bike friendly. 

The centerpiece event for Akron Connects is tonight at the Akron Civic Theater, when Morten Kabell of Copenhagenize Design Company will talk about urban cycling. But the city’s also been hosting pop-up events, including a gathering at the Lawton Community Center in west Akron, where a small group biked about three miles in the area not far from the Akron Zoo.

Ryan O’Connor is helping to coordinate the effort, says there’s a top priority when it comes to being bike friendly.

“That word safe is incredibly key because generally we see in cities all around the world and also in the U.S. that people will not cycle unless they feel safe. So the idea is which are those streets we can prioritize and how we figure out what streets those are through events like this

Organizers say the city’s other challenges include the interstate highways and wide roads that bisect Akron and steep hills that lead out of downtown to the north.