Interstate 70/71 Construction Downtown - News & Discussion
July 13, 2010 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #386310
Crap. I rode that path the last two days. I ride it a lot, it’s faster, easier, and safer than the streets that go out that way. When I fly, it’s the way I get from Victorian Village to the airport. Mark Kelsey hasn’t really proven himself to be a bastion of good management, good ideas, or out for the best interest of the citizens of Columbus during his tenure on the job so far, so I can’t imagine he’ll do the right thing and leave the path without a lot of noise being made by those who use it. I’ll go tomorrow and make some noise.July 13, 2010 8:32 pm at 8:32 pm #386311
Letters/emails to the offices of Councilmen Andy Ginther and Hearcel Craig are also helpful (they are heading up this hearing):
Columbus City Council
90 West Broad Street,
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone : (614) 645-7379
Fax : (614) 645-7399
Email : [email protected]
Columbus City Council
90 West Broad Street,
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone : (614) 645-2931
Fax : (614) 645-7399
Email Legislative Aide: Kenneth Paul, [email protected]July 13, 2010 8:40 pm at 8:40 pm #386312
lizless wrote >>
Yep, same dude. Public Service Director Mark Kelsey. He used to work for ODOT before the mayor appointed him director. Sometimes I think he forgets that he represents the City of Columbus now.
I forget to blame the mayor too; he did appoint him after all. The biggest issue for me is how this is going to set back the Near East side, particularly King-Lincoln and Olde Towne East, when they are just starting to come into their own after ODOT already ruined these neighborhoods. According to OTENA the losses they are going to incur on Parsons is 20% of the buildings left that ODOT didn’t tear down when they were demolishing the area decades ago (including the birthplace of James Thurber). Add on to that the dismay that OTE and German Village residents has voiced due to their losing access to the highway in the form of the highway ramps for residents, visitors, and businesses alike. Those newer businesses along the split are going to have to deal with two years of highway construction which is going to remove direct access to these areas. The owner of Voda on Parsons was only one out of the handful of businesses there that is considering getting out before the split construction commences. Who really thinks he’s the only one?
Not only that, but aside from the current highway gap between Downtown and these neighborhoods you’re now going to have a 3rd and 4th St equivalent on either side. If you want to walk from Downtown to Parsons or Long you’ll have to cross the new 3rd St, then the highway, then a new 4th St before getting across.
Aside from that it’s just another maddening example of the city government not caring about its residents and business. They’re just letting ODOT do whatever they want no matter how devastating the results will be. We could try taking measures to reduce traffic on the split and see how that works before going forward with a drastic exorbitantly expensive project, but that would be logical. Surprise! It’s Columbus.July 13, 2010 8:51 pm at 8:51 pm #386313
I just had a meeting this morning with someone from the Lincoln Theatre Association to discuss a variety of neighborhood issues. When we talked about development, I said that it would be nice to get a new restaurant in the restaurant space in the Gateway Building at the corner of Hamilton & Long, but there’s no way that any business owner is going to sign a lease there with 2+ years of construction about to kick off and limit access to the area.
It will be at least until 2012 or 2013 before that restaurant space gets filled. That’s jobs that are on hold, neighborhood vibrancy on hold, and all sort of other implications that this project is impeding.
Hopefully the impact won’t be too severe on existing businesses, but I really wouldn’t want to be in their shoes right now.July 13, 2010 8:53 pm at 8:53 pm #386314
An email from Councilmember Hearcel Craig’s Office:
Dear Civic Leader,
You are on a list of neighborhood and business leaders representing their organizations relative to the Ohio Department of TransportationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (ODOT) planned reconstruction of Interstates 70/71, commonly called Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe Split.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ If you know of others who should receive this email please reply with their contact info.
Columbus city council member Hearcel Craig, chair of city councilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s public service & transportation committee, asked me to update you on recent legislative developments concerning ODOTÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s split project. He learned last week that ODOT is seeking a July vote of city council on two pieces of split-related legislation. The first is a property transfer involving the relocation of a portion of the I-670 Jack Gibbs bike path. It was tabled indefinitely by city council on June 21. The second ordinance is Ã¢â‚¬Å“consentÃ¢â‚¬Â legislation, in which the city would Ã¢â‚¬Å“consentÃ¢â‚¬Â to allow ODOT to proceed with phase one of the split project.
Next steps: city council members are scheduling with ODOT officials and would like to hear from you. A public hearing co-chaired by Chairman Craig, Council member Andrew Ginther, chair of finance and economic development committee, and Council member Priscilla Tyson, chair of the development committee is scheduled for Wednesday, July14 at 5:30 PM. City council welcomes your input at the hearing; the detailed notice is patched in below.
Working together with the mayorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s administration, ODOT and our neighborhood stakeholders is key to city council, and members of council hope you or a representative can attend the hearing. Please contact me via email or at 645-8529 with any questions or if I can be of service.
Lelia Cady, Legislative Advisor
Columbus City CouncilJuly 13, 2010 9:09 pm at 9:09 pm #386315
Sounds like we need to get a lot of downtown lovers to City Hall chambers tomorrow night. I’ll be there.July 13, 2010 9:16 pm at 9:16 pm #386316
I’ll be there too. Planning on speaking. Just gotta figure out the best way to cram it all into 3 minutes. ;)July 13, 2010 9:46 pm at 9:46 pm #386317
Another Letter of Concern:
July 8, 2010
Mayor Mike Coleman
Councilman Hearcel Craig
Councilman Andrew Ginther
90 W. Broad
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Re: 70/71 Construction Program
Dear Mayor Coleman and Councilmen Craig and Ginther,
I have lived and worked in the Discovery District for over 20 years, first in a rental property on Town Street, and now with my wife in a condominium on Franklin Avenue. I have been very happy living here downtown, and have watched the Discovery District thrive. The love of my community is what drives my concern about the impact this project will have on Town/Franklin Historic Neighborhood, and the rest of Downtown Columbus. The proposed change to Lester Drive, and the 70/71 project as a whole, leaves me with the concern that there are too many issues unresolved.
I have attended several of the meetings held by ODOT, and it is apparent to me, that while ODOT says they value input and suggestions, they have not been very responsive to requests or recommendations from outside individuals or organizations. I believe the current plans do not go far enough in addressing noise levels and the impact to the residential neighborhoods along the corridor. I am disappointed that the project does nothing to mitigate the negative impact of expanding the freeway system in an urban residential area and does not provide more design work to create an aesthetically pleasing urban living environment. I realize that ODOTs mission is to build the most efficient freeway system, but at what costs?
As a member of the 70/71 Neighborhood Advisory Group, as well as a Board Member of the Discovery District SID, I urge both Mayor Coleman and City Council to listen to their constituents, and start taking a more active and positive roll in this project. Not only to ensure that the historic neighborhoods are not detrimentally affected by the development, but to ensure that this project enhances the downtown area as a whole. There is an opportunity for the construction project to help create a more vibrant urban area that will draw people to live, work, and enjoy more of what downtown has to offer.
I believe City Council should table the current legislation that is related to the 70/71 Construction Program, and take the steps necessary to make sure this construction project not just fulfills ODOTÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mandate to create a more efficient freeway system, but also takes into account the needs and concerns of the neighborhoods and communities that will be affected by it.
623 Franklin Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43215July 14, 2010 12:42 am at 12:42 am #386318
I attended the Transportation & Pedestrian Commission meeting tonight and asked Bill Lewis about the plans for the 670 trail and the 70/71 split. He told me that ODOT wants to realign Leonard Ave but will also realign the 670 trail to be adjacent to it. I suppose the trail will be closed temporarily while the road is being redone, but we are not going to lose the trail. And like someone posted earlier, there are alternatives we can use during the closure.
To everyone who is attending the meeting, could you please make sure that the bridge on St. Clair over 670 will remain? It is on the bicycle route 44 which takes you north on St. Clair from the 670 trail and then west on 2nd Ave to the Short North.
I am concerned about the changes and hope they are not going to divide neighborhoods even more than the existing 70 & 71.
TriciaJuly 14, 2010 1:39 pm at 1:39 pm #386319
I am going to try to make this tonight, important topic.July 14, 2010 1:41 pm at 1:41 pm #386320
It sounds like all the neighborhood groups impacted by the 70/71 fix have been given the same lip service to their concerns by ODOT, but have not had their concerns addressed in any meaningful way. Tonight is an opportunity for us to ask our elected city officials to take a leadership role on this issue and to withhold their consent to this project moving forward until these neighborhood concerns are fully addressed.July 14, 2010 4:48 pm at 4:48 pm #386321
Anybody know if you can still park free at City Hall after 5pm?
See you all tonight!July 14, 2010 8:01 pm at 8:01 pm #386322
The hearing notice says parking is free after 5:00 in the city hall surface lot at Front and Gay Streets. There is plenty of bike parking too. The meeting begins at 5:30 PM.July 14, 2010 8:55 pm at 8:55 pm #386323
It will be interesting to see how our elected city officials respond to their constituents’ concerns regarding this project. Will they side with ODOT or the constituents who elected them? As Director of the Columbus Department of Public Services, Mr. Kelsey, a former ODOT employee, is very much involved in all the major decision-making on the part of the city as it relates to this project (which may explain why the city has not taken much of a leadership role, but has largely acted as a passive listener throughout this multi-year process.)July 14, 2010 9:23 pm at 9:23 pm #386324
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