The City of Akron is closing the newly installed bike lane on East Exchange Street.
Engineers for the city installed the double bike lanes in early August, before University of Akron students returned to campus. The bike lanes are scheduled to be removed October 11.
The Hands on Exchange experiment was an opportunity for the City of Akron to address roadway improvements in the area. They took one lane of traffic out and replaced it with a two-way bike lane. City of Akron Engineering Bureau project manager, Christine Jonke says she met with representatives from the University of Akron to discuss their needs. Jonke says that Exchange Street is “almost a barrier between the students and the main campus,” so they wanted to bring both sides together.
Initially, the University of Akron responded well to the bike lanes, but the City of Akron wanted to hear from the public. Walkers and bikers were encouraged to give feedback on the bike lanes using online surveys, website comments, and phone calls.
Jonke says the results were mixed.
“We did get a lot of positive feedback from the bicycle community as well as some of the students form the university of akron, but it didn’t really outweigh the delays we were finding where happening. So, we made the decision to remove the Hands on Exchange experiment a little bit earlier than we normally would have.”
This experiment is far from over. The City of Akron will install a more permanent project when federal funding is granted in 2022. Until then bicyclists must ride on the streets and obey all traffic laws.