Hudson -- Cyclists face traffic, lack of bike lanes and narrow roads while riding around town.
Nearly 40 bicyclists gathered May 9 after 9 a.m. in front of Barlow Community Center to participate in a Bike-N-Brainstorm ride through town to find ways to improve conditions for biking. The original ride was scheduled in October but was canceled because of cold, wet weather.
The group rode about 8.5 miles through Hudson from Barlow Community Center onto East Streetsboro Street; north on North Main Street; west along Brandywine Drive and Steepleview Drive; south on West Prospect Street, Morse Road, Owen Brown Street, Stratford Road, Boston Mills Road, Prescott Drive, West Streetsboro Street, Nicholson Drive; east on Barlow Road; and north on Darrow Road. They encountered a variety of surfaces and traffic conditions.
The city partnered with Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study to look at bike routes in the city and gather information and comments from residents and city staff to improve them. The participants filled out surveys and provided comments from the ride.
AMATS planning coordinator Krista Beniston said AMATS provides bike and pedestrian funding in addition to road repair funding. It also conducts Bike-N-Brainstorm events for residents to experience the ride, and AMATS can obtain feedback from what communities want.
"For us it's a different way to get input and a fun way to get out on the road and experience what we are actually talking about," she said.
Beniston accompanied the riders.
"The neighborhoods were easy to ride but Barlow [Road] was really narrow and has pavement issues so people were dodging in and out," Beniston said. "[State Route] 91 has a lot of width but some places didn't have bike lanes and had obstacles."
A lot of bicycle riders go through the neighborhoods to avoid state routes 303 and 91, Beniston said.
"We hope to get good comments on how to change the roads," she said.
"I hope to contribute to make Hudson more bike friendly," said Hudson resident Lora Zimmerman, who participated in the ride.
State Route 91 is good for the most part with a wider berm but there are places where it narrows, said Stow resident Sharon Abraham. It's not friendly for bicycles or pedestrians. If there are no sidewalks, the road needs to be wider.
Abraham suggested placing bike racks in front of businesses along state Route 91.
Barlow Road was a concern for cyclists, but Council is scheduled to vote May 7 on legislation for the city to hire GPD Group for engineering design services on Barlow Road. The project would include widening the existing pavement, a multiuse path, re-grading of the ditches and storm sewer improvements among other things. Construction could begin in 2016.
Curtis Baker of AMATS said the Bike-N-Brainstorm event places residents on the road with city officials, and riders can talk about what they saw and any concerns.
Hudson Community Development Director Mark Richardson said connectivity is an important issue for Hudson residents and will be included in the city's Comprehensive Plan, currently under review.
"Last year the city adopted a connectivity plan that deals with two-wheel paths and trails in the community in the city," Richardson said. "As we develop a system in Hudson, your participation and comments today will be very instructive."
Century Cycles owner Doug Charnock set up a tent to help with tire inflation and bicycle repairs, and the local Acme donated water and cookies for the bike riders.
City Engineer Thom Sheridan drove the route and picked up any injured or tired cyclists, but most completed the course and survey.