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Franklinton Trail and Park Plans Moving Forward

Brent Warren Brent Warren Franklinton Trail and Park Plans Moving ForwardA rendering shows improvements along Souder Avenue as it runs under railroad tracks. Visuals courtesy of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.
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The next two years could see several different projects spearheaded by the city’s Recreation and Parks Department come to fruition in Franklinton.

Plans for a new bike and pedestrian bridge over the Scioto River and an off-street trail along Souder Avenue are moving forward, although the details have changed since the idea was first proposed in 2018.

The new bridge will now be completely separate from the road bridge, crossing the river about 30 feet downstream from the existing Sounder Avenue bridge. It will connect the Scioto Trail and the nearby Olentangy Trail to the new off-street path, which will run alongside Souder Avenue for about half a mile, to West Broad Street.

City officials have said that the bridge and the path will be built at the same time, and that construction will start some time within the next two years.

The project is part of a larger effort to add bike and pedestrian connections to the neighborhood called the Franklinton Loop Trail.

Another initiative, still in the design phase, calls for bringing more park-like amenities to some overlooked green space in the neighborhood. Enhancements could include new playgrounds, walking paths or small shelters, said Brad Westall, Greenways Planner for the Recreation and Parks Department.

The green space is located within the wide street islands that run down the middle of West Park, Dakota and Guilford avenues.

“We are looking at these street islands and asking if there is more that we can do – the West Park island is 90 feet wide by four blocks long…that’s a pretty major green space, that’s four acres,” Westall said. “This is an opportunity to offer a few amenities for the neighborhood that they currently don’t have any access to now. Per capita, Franklinton is the most underserved community in the entire city for parks.”

The city has reached out to neighborhood residents, community groups and the Franklinton Area Commission for feedback on what should be done with the spaces, and expects to unveil some concrete ideas in the near future.

One other project in the area that is “still being pursued,” according to Westall, is an elevated trail that would run along former rail the right-of-way from West Broad Street (just west of the Spaghetti Warehouse) to the Scioto Trail near the River and Rich development.

“That’s still high-level,” said Westall, but he is hopeful that eventually the project can serve as both “connective tissue” for the neighborhood and as “an expression of our community.”

Additional Reading: City Decides on Plan for Clintonville Bike Bridges

The planned path and bridge across the Scioto River.
Map of the proposed Franklinton Loop Trail – #1 shows the Souder Avenue trail, and #6 the elevated trail  (click here for full PDF version).
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