For much of this Spring, the City Engineer’s Office has been busy working with Kent State University’s Office of the Architect to translate the vision of the esplanade extension into the actual details of this future connection in construction terms so that construction can begin at the end of the year and roll through to completion in 2012.
We were able to get to this point because the City partnered with KSU to obtain trail construction funding through AMATS last year, and with grant funds in hand, the design engineers have been hired and urban planners have been given the green light to roll up their sleeves with civil engineers to prepare the blueprints for the kinds of elements that we all think have to be included in the esplanade project to make it a one-of-a-kind public space that is more than a way to get from point A on campus, to point B in downtown Kent — it is arguably a destination in and of itself.
As those plans take greater shape, I will share them but in the meantime I was encouraged to hear that coming off a great kick off year with the KSU Bike Share project, aka FlashFleet Program, Provost Bob Frank, and a small cadre of KSU helpers, are looking for ways to extend the bike share service off of campus and perhaps follow the esplanade’s yellow brick road into downtown Kent.
The only thing better than more students in downtown Kent, is more students in downtown Kent without their cars, which is why I was excited to hear of KSU’s interest in offering more opportunities for two-wheeled student visitors to join their two footed counterparts in using the esplanade.
While they work out those details, here’s a summary that the Provost’s Office shared describing the success of the FlashFleet program in 2010: