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Akron, DAP offer help navigating downtown during Main Street Corridor Project

November 28, 2018

Akron, DAP offer help navigating downtown during Main Street Corridor Project

AKRON, Ohio – The city and Downtown Akron Partnership are helping holiday shoppers and visitors get to downtown businesses and Lock 3 Winterfest activities despite construction related to the Main Street Corridor Project.

They are also creating sharable maps and videos to help businesses communicate the best routes to their locations, said Kimberly Beckett, Downtown Akron Partnership’s director of business relations.

“We’ve been working to come up with ideas to mitigate some of the inconvenience on Main Street and we’re trying to make this as transparent as possible,” said city spokeswoman Heather Bolestridge. “There’s more to come.”

As construction moves forward on the $31 million Main Street project, launched last summer, sidewalk and street patterns will change, Bolestridge said, but sidewalks on one side of the street will always be open.

To help get around downtown, look for:

Signs and dots – “Walk This Way!” signs offer maps of downtown blocks, and show pedestrian walkways and construction zones. Red dots allow pedestrians to navigate sidewalks. Signs are also found in the lobbies of businesses to help employees and visitors get around,Walking tours – In December, Bolestridge plans to launch weekly walking tours open to all, with varying routes. Check out the city’s Drive Akron website to learn when they will take place and to sign up. Details on the walks will also be posted on the city’s social media outlets. Drive Akron also offers weekly project updates and live webcams of the work, including rebuilding of the State Street Bridge.Parking – Surface lots and decks offer parking for 10,000 vehicles and are positioned within a short walk of most downtown destinations, Beckett said. Also, until the construction concludes, the city is offering free two-hour parking at the State Street Deck, the Buchtel Lot and on the street south of Cedar Street, including a portion of the lot in front of Spaghetti Warehouse. Parking at meters is always free downtown after 6 p.m. during the week and on weekends. See the parking map below.

The Main Street Corridor Project will be built in two phases, from Cedar Street to Perkins Street/MLK Boulevard, and is expected to be complete by spring 2020.

The work includes newly paved streets and sidewalks; new signs and traffic signals; and new bus and bike lanes. A roundabout with a water feature will be installed at Main and Mill streets and the State Street Bridge will be rebuilt. Greenery and benches will be added throughout.

“There are a lot of things going on downtown that are really cool,” Bolestridge said. “It’s still an awesome place to be and when all is said and done, you can say you supported it.”

The city was awarded two Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants -- $5 million in 2016 and $8 million earlier this year. Akron also was awarded $7.5 million in federal bridge funds in 2017 for the State Street bridge.

Main Street is not the only area being improved, Bolestridge said. Utilities are being updated under Main Street and improvements are underway on Cedar and Exchange streets. The Bowery Project has begun developing apartments and retail shops on the block of Main Street that houses the Akron Civic Theatre, which is expanding and adding a new performance venue in downtown.

“It’s a vision. You have to be able to see the big picture,” Bolestridge said.  

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