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Akron, Ohio

Akron Working to Make Streets Safer for Pedestrians


City of Akron Press Release
Published: 12-31-2013

            Akron, Ohio (December 30, 2013) – There is a new dance in town called the Barnes Dance, also known as a pedestrian scramble, located at the very busy intersections of E. Exchange Street and Grant Street and E. Exchange Street and Sumner Street. This pedestrian scramble provides a “Pedestrians Only” crossing phase which stops vehicular traffic in all directions and lets pedestrians cross in all directions. 

            “With new student housing options available foot traffic has and will continue to sharply increase.  By stopping traffic completely to let our residents and students cross in all directions, our pedestrians are safer because pedestrian-vehicle conflicts are necessarily reduced,” said Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic.


            Banners went up last week at the busy intersection alerting drivers and pedestrians to the change.   “As our students, faculty and staff return to campus after the holiday break, they will welcome this additional safety measure,” said Denine M. Rocco, University of Akron’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Students.  “Our Safety Task Force has worked diligently with the City of Akron to enhance the quality of life on and around our campus.  We are most appreciative of the application of this new technology to pedestrian safety.”

            The Barnes Dance only works when everyone follows the traffic and pedestrian signalizations.  Pedestrians must only walk when traffic is stopped in all directions, and the pedestrian signals indicate it is time to walk.  “If the rules are followed, then it is the safest method available to protect our pedestrians,” said Akron Chief of Police Jim Nice.  “We are going to be monitoring this intersection for compliance and if the rules are not followed, police will start handing out citations.” 

            The pedestrian scramble is just one new signalization change among several designed to make pedestrians safer throughout the City.  Currently, a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) study is underway to assess safety needs for walking routes to all 41 K-8 Akron Public School buildings. The SRTS program encourages children to walk or bicycle to school for health, and funds infrastructure and programs to do this.

            SRTS has already started making an impact in our neighborhoods.  A new four-way stop has been installed at Baker Avenue and Hillman Road for Hatton CLC, and a new traffic signal has been installed at Litchfield Road and Newton Street at the driveway for the new Seiberling CLC.

            Starting in January new Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs) will be installed at the school crossings at Newton Street and Boyd Street and Bloomfield Avenue and W. Exchange Street as test installations. The RRFBs help provide greater awareness of pedestrian crossings and compliance by drivers.

            “Pedestrian safety is essential, and our traffic engineers are continually monitoring and making adjustments to our traffic patterns and signalization to minimize areas of potential conflict between pedestrians and vehicular traffic,” said Mayor Plusquellic.  “The improvements announced today are just a few of the changes that will be made throughout next year to improve pedestrian safety.”

            More improvements can be expected as the Safe Routes to School program continues through 2014. For any questions or comments, contact the SRTS Coordinator, Andy Davis at (330) 375-2851 or at: [email protected].


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