Canton will hold a public meeting Wednesday to hear residents’ feedback on plans to improve Walnut and Cherry avenues.
The city engineer’s office says it will give residents a chance to comment on work the city plans to perform next year on Cherry and Walnut avenues, which will include the installation of bike lanes and bus shelters.
The office has scheduled a public information meeting Wednesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce at 222 Market Ave. N.
The upgrades, which are expected to start in the spring and be completed within four months at a cost of $1.5 million, will affect the stretches of Walnut and Cherry between Third Street SE and 12th Street NE. The project is part of long-term plans by the city, the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, Stark Parks and J.R. Coleman Center to create a Mahoning Road NE corridor area that will attract residents and businesses.
City Engineer Dan Moeglin went over the scope of the project:
• A northbound bike lane and southbound bike lane will be installed on Walnut between Third Street SE and 12th Street NE. The bike lanes will extend to Third Street SE because the eventually city plans to lay down bike lanes on Third Street.
• As a result of installing the bike lanes, Walnut, a one-way southbound street, will go from three through lanes to two lanes for vehicles.
• The city will remove parallel parking lanes on Walnut but replace it with back-in diagonal parking.
• The city will install signs that announce the presence of the bike lanes and bus stops.
• Several bus shelters will be installed, about every other block on Cherry and Walnut.
• Contractors will improve sidewalks around the bus stops.
• The city will install concrete pads under the street by the bus stops to protect the street from pounding from the buses.
• The city will place “architectural and aesthetic streetscape elements such as paving bricks, (decorative) trees and nostalgic lighting” along Walnut and Cherry.
Moeglin said contractors will close certain lanes on Walnut and Cherry as part of the construction, but he had no plans to completely shut down the streets.
The work along with the rest of the Mahoning Road corridor projects are being funded in part by an Ohio Department of Transportation $15 million grant and a $2.7 million federal transit grant. SARTA paid the engineering design costs.
“This is good for the city because it helps to make Canton a more livable community,” said Moeglin. “We want people to be able to enjoy their surroundings. We want things to look nice. We want bicyclists and pedestrians to have good access to the city.”
“The main thing is going to be the stops,” said Kirt Conrad, the executive director for SARTA. “It’s going to offer ... better passenger amenities. Now there are no shelters along Cherry and Walnut. Afterward, there will be. Better signage.”