TWINSBURG — The city’s planning commission was presented a final report Dec. 17 and is likely to take formal action on the "First Mile / Last Mile" connectivity study at its Jan. 7 meeting.
"The report has been updated based on recommendations and revisions made by the consultants, city officials and residents," said city planner Lynn Muter. "We’ll send it back to the consultants one more time, and it will come back to us for formal action."
Mayor Ted Yates has said there is no timetable for moving ahead with the recommendations, and anything that is done depends largely on how much money is available to implement connectivity projects.
"This project is crucial to the downtown redevelopment process," Yates has said. "It would help to make downtown a destination."
The city has been attempting to fill gaps between existing pedestrian and bicycling paths since 2016, when it was awarded a Connecting Communities grant through the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study.
AMATS funding for the study was $23,000, with the city chipping in $10,000. Consultants from City Architecture and WSP USA have been working on the project for more than two years.
AMATS developed the Connecting Communities initiative in 2010 to promote transit, bicycle and pedestrian uses and help create vibrant, healthy communities in the region.
Since then, the grants, along with the Switching-Gears.org and Bike-N-Brainstorm programs, have been created.
One of the main focuses of Twinsburg’s study is looking at how to make the Ravenna Road corridor more accessible to alternative types of transportation, AMATS planning administrator Curtis Baker said at a public forum early in 2018.
The project would create a multi-tiered system, making Twinsburg Township Square a more connected destination, linking civic amenities, schools, commercial assets, parks and neighborhoods, and decreasing dependence on vehicular circulation.
City Architecture’s Alex Pesta said the study focuses on Ravenna Road, northern commercial areas and neighborhoods, eastern neighborhoods, the civic campus and Township Square.
Among ways of improving connectivity include creating bike lanes along Ravenna Road, installing signals and signs to make it easier for walkers and bicyclists to interact with cars and creating trailheads where cars can park to access a trail.
Planning Commission chairman Marc Cohen said implementation of the connectivity plan depends on "which way we want to go, and the money that is available."
"This is a great opportunity for the city," said Councilman Scott Barr. He was attending his first meeting as Council’s new representative to the panel.
Also at the Dec. 17 meeting, the panel recommended to Council revisions to planning-zoning regulations, which primarily would allow final site plan approval to rest with the commission rather than with Council.
"Additionally, updates to site plan requirements have been included, along with some grammatical revisions," said Muter, who added the recommendations will go to Council for action in January.
The panel also approved a lighting plan for Quarry Reserve at Boulder Brook at Route 91 and Officer Joshua T. Miktarian Parkway. Forty-three lots are planned in the subdivision.
Gene Esser, representing developer Cannon One LLC, said Ohio Edison’s plan for lighting there calls for street lights every 150 to 175 feet.
A couple members of the panel said there are no plans to light where an emergency access point from a nearby trail intersects with Hunter’s Ridge Ext. Muter said she will ask for an opinion from the city’s safety forces as to whether lighting is needed there.
Esser said installation of lighting for Quarry Reserve is expected to be completed by the end of January.
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org