New Path with SS4A
AMATS forges new path to regional safety with SS4A Action Plan
The Safe Streets for All (SS4A) Action Plan for the Greater Akron Area marks the beginning of a concentrated regional effort to improve safety on area highways, streets, and roadways.
Developed by the AMATS and approved by the agency’s Policy Committee during its May 18 meeting, the SS4A Action Plan details various proposed infrastructure investments and policy strategies to promote safe travel throughout Portage and Summit counties and the northeastern portion of Wayne County.
AMATS Planning Administrator Matt Stewart explains that areas and communities must have an approved action plan before seeking funding from the newly created federal SS4A Grant Program. The program funds planning, infrastructure, behavioral, and operational initiatives to prevent deaths and serious injuries among pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation users, and motorists on the nation’s roadways.
Stewart says that the members of the AMATS Policy Committee agreed that the agency should be the lead body in crafting a regional action plan rather than individual communities creating their own plans in a piecemeal fashion. “We hope that our cooperative planning approach leads to area projects landing funding through the SS4A program,” he adds.
The recommendations of the SS4A Action Plan are divided into three sections: project recommendations, strategy recommendations, and transit-related recommendations. Project recommendations are grouped into short-term, mid-term, and long-term scheduling timeframes and consist of various federally recognized proven safety countermeasures. Countermeasures include roadway departure signs and markings to indicate lane edges and alignment changes to help drivers navigate. Speed management changes, intersection improvements, and bike and pedestrian projects are among the other viable countermeasures identified in the plan.
The plan’s strategy recommendations urge regional policymakers to consider enforcement, education, and engagement approaches in their oversight of the area’s transportation networks based on seven areas of concern. These areas are speed, distracted driving, impairment, seat belts, motorcycles, railway crossings, and bike and pedestrian issues.
The plan’s transit-related recommendations chiefly concern the Greater Akron area’s transit authorities – the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority and METRO of Summit County – and urge continued and increased support and coordination for area transit services among all levels of transportation planning. Bus rapid transit service within Akron and surrounding communities, improved pedestrian access to transit stops, and various enhancements to stops, shelters and related facilities are among the recommendations.
The plan’s short-term project recommendations may become reality soon as they are scheduled to be completed between now and Fiscal Year 2027. These recommendations include reconstruction and sidewalk improvements on Darrow Road in Stow, intersection upgrades on Valley View Road in Northfield Center Township, and significant improvements on state Route 59 (East Main Street) in Kent.
“More roundabouts, road diets, and better sidewalks and crosswalks will be appearing throughout our region in the coming years,” Stewart predicts.
To view the SS4A Action Plan, please click here.