Cuyahoga Falls -- A City Councilman is encouraging residents to weigh in on a proposal to reduce a section of Front Street from a four-lane road to a three-lane road and add on-street parking near Gorge Metro Park.

Falls Councilor Vic Pallotta (R-3) said the city's traffic committee will address the issue at a meeting on July 17 at 4:30 p.m. in the Erie Room of the Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St.

"I'm going to give everybody a chance to weigh in on this," said Pallotta, who also serves on the traffic committee.

Summit Metro Parks is planning a project to change Front Street from a four-lane to a three-lane road with parallel parking from Hillcrest Drive to the southern corporation limits and to construct a walkway, according to legislation that was reviewed by City Council in June.

During discussion at Council's public affairs committee meeting June 19, City Engineer Tony Demasi said motorists traveling south in the right lane on Front Street toward Gorge Metro Park would have to make a right turn once they get to Hillcrest Drive.

Lisa King, executive director of the Metro Parks, said the project was being done to provide more parking for people going to Gorge Metro Park.

The public affairs committee decided to hold the proposal to hear feedback from residents about the project.

Two of the main issues that will be discussed by the traffic committee on July 17 will include potentially reducing the speed limit in the area and examining whether additional parking spaces could be found in places other than along the road.

The speed limit on this section of roadway in Cuyahoga Falls is 35 mph. Pallotta told the Falls News-Press on July 12 that a speed study recently performed by Police Chief Jack Davis found that a "vast majority" of drivers are traveling between 35 and 45 mph along that stretch of Front Street by Gorge Metro Park.

With a bike lane potentially being put in on the east side and parallel parking on the west side, Pallotta said, "people can't go through there [at] 45 mph."

Pallotta added he is looking at other parking options for Gorge Metro Park, including an area in Akron further south of the main parking lot, as well as the possibility of adding more parking on the park property itself.

Pallotta said he was trying to find out from King how often Metro Parks needs the overflow parking.

"I'm trying to throw everything out there on the table and then try to come up with a win-win situation for everybody," said Pallotta.

If the traffic committee makes a decision on July 17, the issue would then return to the public affairs committee on July 24. If the committee favors the proposal, it would move forward to the full Council for a vote on July 31.


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