People in the Village of Lakemore and Springfield Township may soon find it easier to walk from place to place in their communities.  The AMATS Connecting Communities Program today awarded a $52,000 planning grant to the Village of Lakemore and Springfield Township for a unique livability study.

AMATS offers grants through its Connecting Communities Program to assist in the development of plans that promote vibrant, livable communities.  The program promotes active transportation solutions such as walking and cycling in land use planning rather than motor vehicle use.  Since its launch in 2010, the program has funded studies by Akron, Barberton, Boston Heights, Green, Hudson, Kent, METRO of Summit County, Montrose-area communities, the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA), Ravenna, Richfield, Stow, and Twinsburg.

The Living in Lakemore/Spartan Trail Extension study will allow the village to identify connectivity improvements between its residential neighborhoods and commercial and recreational areas.  New sidewalks throughout Lakemore are already being touted as the most likely strategy to be pursued under the study while dedicated bike lanes and improved transit access are other possibilities.

AMATS Mobility Planner Heather Davis Reidl notes that – other than the west end of Sanitarium Road – there is a general lack of sidewalks in the village, which limits residents’ access to the Spartan Trail.  The trail provides access to key destinations throughout the village including Springfield Lake Park and the Lakemore Plaza on Canton Road.  However, access to the Spartan Trail is impossible in some places and it does not connect to the Springfield Middle and High schools.  Large portions of the trail are also without lighting and pavement.

The study will identify potential sidewalk locations to provide safe access not only to the trail and schools, but nearby METRO bus stops, shopping, and parks.  Because the village and township share the Springfield Local Schools system, both communities will use the study to identify sections of the Spartan Trail suitable for development as neighborhood access points to the middle and high schools.

“Many of these students walk to school along Canton and Sanitarium roads with no protection from nearby traffic,” Reidl continues, “Creating a safe route to schools is likely welcome news to a community that lacks school-based transportation for its middle and high schoolers.”