Kent is peaking at the right time as we got word this afternoon that we won big over Niagara Falls, with Kent getting 71% of the vote to Niagara Falls 29%. Whoa Nellie!
City Council asked us to draft a letter in response to the latest gun violence tragedy to send to our legislative representatives at both the State and National level.
Council members were careful not to pick sides on what the solution should be, but they wanted to add their voices to the dialogue and create a greater sense of urgency to this difficult issue.
Here’s the letter:
March 13, 2018
Dear State/Federal Representative,
As elected community leaders, we understand the pressure of unreasonable expectations, irreconcilable public opinion, and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that divide our communities at every turn. Like yours, our job has never been harder.
We live in our communities and we live with the consequences of our decisions every day. We share neighborhoods and grocery stores with the people that call Kent home, who look to us to fulfill a promise to make their lives better.
In an instant on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida we were tragically reminded of the frailty of the most vulnerable among us. All our aspirations and pledges to make life better in our communities means nothing when we collectively fail those who need us the most.
We could not be there to protect them but as our nation mourns and searches for answers to the latest act of senseless gun violence we must not fail them again – for as the nation argues, children are dying.
That’s an unimaginable loss and no matter how tough it may be to bring about change, nothing compares to the hardship of losing a child to an assault weapon — just ask the families, friends, and teachers in Parkland, Sandy Hook, Red Lake, Columbine and Chardon.
This moment of grief must become a collective moment of clarity when we rally around our children and draw a line in the sand to say “enough, not one more.” Together we can be that line and it’s time to act like it – to stand tall and lock arms around our children.
We may not have the answers but the greatest failures of leadership occur when decisions are deferred because they are deemed too daunting and are mired in political posturing. Whatever the solutions may prove to be, we’re ready to do our part.
We are committed to leading a cultural change that exposes gun violence against children for what it is – an unacceptable act of terror – but we can’t do it alone. We can only be as impactful as you are, so let our courage inspire your courage, our leadership your leadership.
We are writing to appeal for your support and commitment to be a part of the change, to challenge you to live up to your leadership aspirations, and to help make sure the next generation has a chance to live up to theirs.
Within each child awaits the future of our communities, of our state, our nation. Please join us in recognizing the enormity of that responsibility and be an agent for change with us.
Jerry T. Fiala, Mayor & President of Council Garret Ferrara, Council Member, Ward 1
Michael DeLeone, Council Member at Large Jack Amrhein, Council Member, Ward 2
Gwen Rosenberg, Council Member at Large Robin Turner, Council Member, Ward 3
Roger Sidoti, Council Member at Large John M. Kuhar, Council Member, Ward 4
Heidi L. Shaffer, Council Member, Ward 5 Tracy Wallach, Council Member, Ward 6
The staff in KSU’s Sustainability Office were kind enough to fill in a few more details on the “pop up” bus stop that I posted about on February 8th. It turns out the story gets even better as I’ve now learned that this bus stop is solar powered.
SOLAR POWERED USB CHARGING PAVILION
Students enrolled in an architecture seminar, spring 2017, participated in a workshop investigating, and building a small-scale sustainable project. Taught by Associate Professor Greg Stroh with lab assistance from Chip Clark, of the FabLab at the CAED, the build workshop’s initial research project constructed a solar powered usb charging station for use as a bus wait structure on campus. The students researched materials/fabrication, detailing, assembly, and sustainability issues through a set of modules, ranging from the technical to the aesthetic, with the final assembly taking place at the end of the spring semester. Both traditional and advanced technologies were deployed within the making of the project – from cnc milling of the bench to the hand varnishing of the marine plywood. A solar panel on the roof powers six-usb ports, integrated into the bench for powering up devices while patrons wait for the next bus.
The next round is officially underway in the Strong Towns competition — and each community has uploaded 5 pictures with narratives to reflect the best of their respective communities in a head-to-head competition.
Admittedly I’m biased but I think our photos look way better than Niagara Falls, but with 3 times the number of voters in their community, we’ve got our work cut out for us.
If you have a minute, check out our photos and vote for your hometown this week.
AMATS is our region’s transportation planning agency and they just released the most recent 3-year comparative crash data.
It looks like the region is running at a little over 18,000 crashes a year — including vehicle, bicycling and pedestrians.
We always hate to see Kent locations make the AMATS top 10 list for crash sites but there’s still some tricky spots where cars, bikes and pedestrians cross one another with sometimes unfortunate results.
We’ve got safety improvement projects either underway (Summit Street) or in planning (SR261, Main Street) for our worst offenders.
Here’s a link to the full report or you can read the summary of the AMATS findings below:
The good news for the Greater Akron area is that the number of traffic crashes on the region’s roadways and intersections decreased slightly between 2015 and 2016. The bad news for the region is that crashes and fatalities increased from 2014, according to the latest three-year crash report compiled by AMATS.
The report’s findings are based on the agency’s analysis of nearly 55,000 motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian-related crash records for the area’s roadway sections and intersections provided by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). High-crash locations identified in the report may be used by communities as a starting point when seeking federal Highway Safety Program funds through ODOT for safety improvement projects.
The agency’s 2014-2016 Crash Report shows that the number of area crashes surprisingly decreased by 231 from 18,589 in 2015 to 18,358 in 2016 – a drop of less than one percent. Crashes that resulted in an injury also decreased slightly during the same period – from 4,474 to 4,463. AMATS Transportation Improvement (TIP) Coordinator Dave Pulay suggests that the improving crash numbers may be due to various safety improvements – such as new left turn lanes, signals, roundabouts, and widenings – throughout the region. He cites Frost Road in Streetsboro, Summit Street in Kent, and 31st Street in Barberton as examples of recent safety projects which received AMATS-programmed funds.
“We may see better totals in the coming years too. The Tallmadge Road/Interstate 76 Interchange in Brimfield, the Canton Road/US 224 intersection in Springfield Township, and Cleveland-Massillon Road in Fairlawn are all scheduled for various safety improvements in the near future,” Pulay adds.
Despite the improving crash totals, Greater Akron area fatalities increased every year of the report from 40 in 2014, to 47 in 2015, and 49 in 2016. “These increases are mirroring similar trends at the state and national levels,” Pulay observes. Safety experts are unsure as to why fatalities are increasing with some speculating that distracted and impaired driving due to drug abuse are contributing factors, according to Pulay. “Whatever the reasons, fatalities are on the upswing and that’s a real concern,” he adds.
For the 2014-2016 Crash Report, the agency identified 178 high-crash roadway sections and 310 high-crash intersections in the region. Not surprisingly, because Akron has the most roadway sections and intersections of any community in the region, the city also has the most locations listed for both high-crash categories. Among the findings of the 2014-2016 Crash Report are:
- Akron has 64 high-crash roadway sections followed by Cuyahoga Falls with 19 sections. Kent – the Portage County community with the most high-crash sections – is third with 17.
- Akron has 164 high-crash intersections followed by Cuyahoga Falls with 31 intersections. Kent – the Portage County community with the most high-crash intersections – is third with 18.
- The cities of Akron and Fairlawn each have three sections listed in the 10 highest scoring high-crash roadway sections in the Greater Akron area. Kent has two sections listed to be the Portage County community with the most sections in the top 10.
- Akron has six intersections listed in the 10 highest scoring high-crash intersections, the most of any community in the Greater Akron area. Streetsboro is second with two intersections listed.
- 2016 had 76 bicycle-related crashes, the lowest number since the agency began regularly tracking bicycle and pedestrian crashes in 2007. This downward trend began in 2013 when bicycle-related crashes peaked at 123.
- Out of 254 bicycle-related crashes for the three-year period, 205 or 81 percent, resulted in an injury and five resulted in a fatality.
- Sixty-six percent of bicycle-related crashes occurred at intersections. These crashes occur more in the summer and peak in September.
- Out of 501 pedestrian-related crashes for the three-year period, 428 or 85 percent, resulted in an injury and 16 in a fatality. Despite a one-year drop, from 179 crashes in 2015 to 168 crashes in 2016, there has been a general upward trend in pedestrian-related crashes from 122 in 2007.
- Pedestrian-related crashes occur throughout the year, but tend to increase in the fall and peak in October.