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Pedestrian-Friendly Street Approved For Scioto Peninsula

Brent Warren Brent Warren Pedestrian-Friendly Street Approved For Scioto PeninsulaA view of the proposed High Water Alley, at the intersection of State Street. Renderings by MKSK.
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A new, pedestrian-focused street that will run through the center of the new Scioto Peninsula development was approved by the Downtown Commission yesterday.

Also approved were two large parking garages that will sit next to the elevated railroad tracks that make up the western edge of the development.

Brian Kinzelman, Principal of MKSK, explained that the new private street will be funded by a community authority, and that it has been designed to be closed regularly to vehicular traffic. For example, on weekends and during special events it could function more as an extension of adjacent courtyards, he said.

And at other times, it would not likely see much car traffic – it is only three blocks long and does not connect with either West Broad Street or West Town Street.

“It’s not a cut-through, it’s an embedded street, by its very nature it will be very low-traffic” Kinzelman said, citing Ludlow Alley in the Arena District as an existing street in Columbus with a similar feel. “It can accommodate emergency vehicles, but it is given more over to the pedestrian in terms of scale…we want this to have a distinct personality to it.”

Part of that personality will be a prominent design treatment for the street’s three intersections – illuminated metal pylons at each corner with a line indicating the high water mark from the 1913 flood.

To be called High Water Alley, the street will run through the first phase of the development, connecting Rush Alley and Chapel Street.

The two garages, which will be publicly-owned and financed, are each six-levels tall and will provide parking for all of the different uses in the development. They will sit on the west side of Chapel Street, framing State Street and the railroad bridge that serves as a gateway to the Franklinton neighborhood. 

Mark Ours, of Mode Architects, said that the buildings are meant to fade into the background and to serve a purpose; funneling cars entering and exiting the development down Chapel Street and keeping as much car traffic as possible out of the rest of the district.

“I don’t think you really want to draw attention to these buildings…I think the High Water Alley and the architecture facing COSI and the riverfront is really where the attention needs to be,” he said.

The commission approved the garages, with the condition that they be brought back for approval of the signage and lighting, as well as some ideas for bringing more of an artistic element to the State Street facades of the buildings.

Also approved by the commission was a revamped plan to update the streetscape and first two floors of the Fifth Third Center at 21 E. State St. The new plan was praised by several commissioners as an improvement over the concept presented last month.

Finally, the under-construction Crew Stadium was in front of the commission for what is likely the last time, receiving approvals for a signage plan and a large outdoor video board.

An overview of the development. Outlined in magenta is the first phase, with the two garages at top.
Looking south down the proposed High Water Alley. Rendering by MKSK.
A night view of the street, looking north. Rendering by MKSK.
The two garages framing State Street, looking west toward the railroad bridge. Rendering by Mode Architects.
Looking south down Starling Street, with the two garages on the right. Rendering by Mode Architects.
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