East Main Street - Reimagining the Gateway
The City of Kent along with its partners - the project's Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), Kent State University, PARTA (Portage Area Regional Transport Authority), AMATS (Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study) and ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) - are undertaking a $20 million rehabilitation of a three-quarter mile portion of East Main Street.
The project focuses on East Main, between Willow Street and Horning Road intersections, along with neighborhoods to the north and KSU to the south.
Proposed Corridor Improvements
Download a detailed rendering of the proposed corridor improvements here.
Read about the proposed improvements here.
The goal is to provide an aesthetically pleasing, stately, less cluttered stress-free gateway into Kent that meets the current demands of East Main Street's users.
Working with the East Main Street Citizen's Advisory Committee, the project team established these goals:
- Jointly improve safety and aesthetics for all users
- Balance vehicular congestion with improvements to other modes of transportation
- Enhance adjacent neighborhoods
- Integrate with Kent State University's Gateway Master Plan
- Provide reasonable access to adjacent properties and side streets
Public Meeting Recordings
There were two public meetings to share information about the project and its proposed improvements on September 16th and 21st. Links to the meetings' recording are below for those who could not attend.
To view the September 16th meeting recording, please click here.
To view the September 21st meeting recording, please click here.
The public comment period for the East Main Street project's planning phase was open from September 21-October 21, 2021. Download a summary of the comments here. Future questions or comments on the project can be sent to EastMainStreet@gmail.com or by contacting the city engineers directly at the phone numbers listed at the top of the page.
The East Main Street project is currently wrapping up the planning phase and heading into the design phase this fall. Design should be completed in 2024, with construction anticipated to begin in 2025. Construction is estimated to last three years, with traffic being maintained for the duration.
East Main Street's History
East Main Street is one of the oldest streets in the city. It has gone through several major changes throughout Kent’s history. On maps from 1874, East Main Street was a rural roadway that provided connections to Ravenna with large tracts of land adjacent to the corridor. In images from 1919, East Main Street shows the beginnings of a modern street with sidewalks lining both sides, large stately homes with generous lawns lining the north side and Kent Normal College with a large park like setting on the south side.
Currently, East Main Street is a hectic five lane road with automobile-oriented commercial establishments along most of the northern side and KSU along the southern side. Multi-modal accommodations are limited along the corridor, as it is dominated by vehicular traffic. However, there are significant pedestrian, bicycle and transit demands along the corridor.
When this project is complete, East Main Street will be a reimagined gateway into Kent; with a tree-lined boulevard, wide sidewalks and neighborhood entrances echoing features from its past with functionality for all.
There will be much more information added in the future as this project progresses. Please continue to check the website for more updates.