‘Hands On Exchange’ Project Tests New Bikeway Infrastructure

Founded by the John S. Knight Foundation, the project’s purpose is to test ideas and receive feedback from the community.


Overhead visual of the bike lane on East Exchange Street. (Photo courtesy of Street-Plans)

By Sala Wier, Copy Editor

Akron residents volunteered from Aug. 11 to Aug. 15 to help build a new, two-way protected bike lane on Exchange Street

The University of Akron’s website describes how this “hands-on” project will demonstrate how Exchange Street could transform into a “complete street.” This means it is designed to meet the needs and abilities of pedestrians, bikers and transit users of any age.

Sala Wier
The new bike lane on East Exchange Street.

In a City of Akron press release from July 26, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said, “As City leaders, our goal is to engage our citizens in making decisions about how to best design and develop our public spaces, including streets and other infrastructure. This project will allow us to gather feedback from residents, students, businesses, pedestrians and partner agencies before permanently redesigning Exchange Street into a more functional, safe, accessible and valuable corridor that meets the needs of all users.”

Though City officials believe this to be a good idea for the community, students from UA seem to have some fears.

“Taking away a lane from Exchange Street not only makes driving down Exchange take longer, but creates unsafe intersections and makes it nearly impossible for EMS vehicles to get through,” said Matt Toplack, a UA sophomore.

Another student who commented on Street-Plans said, “I’m a UA commuter who also spends a lot of time on campus and I’ve seen maybe 10 people using a bike in the year I’ve been enrolled. Even over the summer, people walked. The sidewalks are good enough. When winter comes, the campus sidewalks are scarce because of the cold.”

Feedback will be necessary for this project to be successful.

Give your feedback for the Hands on Exchange Project.