Updated: City Decides on Plan for Clintonville Bike Bridges
Editor’s Note (4/23/21): The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department announced today that it had selected Alternative 2 (as shown above) to complete the Olentangy Trail in Clintonville. For more information, see www.columbus.gov. The article below was originally posted on February 3.
Plans to close the last significant gap in the Olentangy Trail are moving forward.
Currently, trail users have to navigate city streets to get from Clinton-Como Park to Northmoor Park (or vice-versa), crossing North Broadway at the Milton Avenue traffic light.
Five different alternatives for closing the gap were presented during a virtual meeting last month.
Only one of the options calls for keeping the trail on the east side of the Olentangy River – that one would require no new bridges but would require trail users to cross North Broadway mid-block, without a traffic signal (and could also potentially necessitate the demolition of a house that sits on the river’s edge).
The other four options all call for building two new bridges over the river, taking the trail over to the west bank for about a half a mile before returning to the east bank. For each of those alternatives, trail users would still need to cross North Broadway, but would benefit from the traffic signal that was recently installed near the north-bound onramp for 315 and the entrance to the new OhioHealth headquarters.
A recording of the January 21 meeting, which city officials said was attended by over 200 people, is available on youtube, and comments on the trail alternatives are being accepted on the project’s website through February 22.
Brad Westall, Greenways Planner for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, said that the plan moving forward is to process the comments from the meeting and the website and to “form responses to the major things that come up and get back with the public in March.” The goal is to select a preferred alternative by later this spring and to get started on design and engineering work in the summer. Construction, though, is not scheduled to start until 2023.
The project, which was first proposed in 2018 after plans for the new OhioHealth headquarters were first unveiled, was awarded $3.7 million in federal transportation funding through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
Meanwhile, Westall said that the department’s other major bridge project along the Olentangy Trail – the one that will cross the river near the Columbus Crew’s new stadium – is currently under construction and on track to open in time for the first game scheduled to take place there, in July.
For more information, see www.columbus.gov.