The finalized East Franklinton Plan was presented in July and lays out a dense urban future for this near-Downtown neighborhood that is slated to be filled with art studios, apartments, corner cafes and creativity.
One critical portion of the plan that was discussed in greater detail at a public meeting this evening was that of transportation infrastructure. The traditional grid-based street system in Franklinton lends itself well to urban mobility, though one-way streets and broken sidewalks currently limit access.
To address this, the East Franklinton Plan calls for changes in traffic operation that would see the conversion of Rich Street and Town Street from one-way streets to two-way streets running east-west through the neighborhood. The plan calls for the addition of on-street parking, bike lanes, shared lanes and center turn lanes in a configuration that is still to be determined. Public input was gathered tonight to help figure out the neighborhood’s priorities for balancing road use within the limited right of way.
“Converting these streets to two-way has a few significant impacts,” said Darren Meyer of urban design firm MKSK, one of several team members serving as project consultants. ”It reduces speed, increases safety, increases access and convenience.”
In addition to the two-way street conversion, the East Franklinton Plan recommends the installation of “gateway” features to be located at the railroad viaducts at Rich and Town Streets on the eastern edge of the neighborhood. These would serve as connectors between East Franklinton and the Scioto Peninsula, which is also going through a new development planning effort.
“These are enabling projects for the vision of this neighborhood,” said Meyer. “What we find is that when these gateway signature elements are executed well and are authentic, they have important downstream effects for the neighborhood. They demonstrate inertia, credibility for the neighborhood, long term commitment and also encourage private investment.”
A timeline for the project has not been officially set, but Project Manager Terry Stewart with the City of Columbus Department of Mobility Options is anticipating that it could move forward fairly quickly.
“We’d like to make these changes next year,” he said. “In order to get that schedule met we need to have another public meeting in two weeks, get public approval and get started with design.”
Input gathered from tonight’s public meeting will be presented in a draft with multiple options and ideas for review at the next public meeting scheduled on September 19th.
More information can be found online at development.columbus.gov.