Downtown map: new visuals show redesigned streets and high-density neighborhoods
An ambitious housing target and new ideas for pedestrian bridges and bike lanes were among the concepts presented Tuesday evening at the latest meeting of the Downtown Strategic Plan.
Planners Chris Hermann and Andrew Overbeck of MKSK pitched the ideas and solicited feedback from attendees, who gathered at COSI for the third in a series of meetings that began earlier this year.
The biggest applause of the evening came when Hermann showed an image of a redesigned Broad Street, complete with dedicated bus lanes and a protected two-way cycle lane.
“I think it would be an incredible transformation, something that we can aspire to, something that is doable,” he said, after speaking about the importance of the LinkUs initiative and the need for this. project — which requires multiple corridors with dedicated transit lanes — to move forward despite COTA’s recent decision not to put a sales tax increase on the ballot this year to fund it.
“We must continue to support the LinkUs project,” added Hermann. “We know the levy discussion is being pushed back for many reasons beyond our control, but it remains a very important and critical element to our future, both of downtown and central Ohio.”
The presentation also included images of the redesigned Third and Fourth Streets, fleshing out an idea first floated at the last meeting that called for two dedicated transit lanes on Third Street and one lane two-way protected bike path on Fourth Street.
“In the future…if we could find a bridge between 670 and a pedestrian and bicycle bridge, we could connect Summit [Street] and the Summit bike system with Downtown and really create a regional, north-south, low-stress bike system,” he said.
Other images unveiled at the meeting include a concept for the redevelopment of Confluence Park – similar to that presented as part of the Rapid 5 project – as well as plans for several new pedestrian bridges over the Scioto River.
Former Mayor Michael Coleman, in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, worked to promote the new plan. When speaking with Columbus Underground early in the planning process, he highlighted the city’s successes in implementing ideas from the last downtown plan in 2010, including a suggested to demolish the Main Street Dam and create an additional 33 acres of urban parkland along the Scioto River.
In 2002, then-Mayor Coleman also set a goal of increasing the downtown population to 10,000, a milestone achieved in 2020 (population currently stands at 11,200, according to the CDDC).
A new goal was unveiled at this week’s meeting – 40,000 people living in downtown Columbus by 2040.
Achieving this will require significantly more surface parking than the 214 acres of downtown, and the area’s transit and active transportation options will need to be improved to make this possible. Hermann cited Gay Street as an example of a street that was successfully densified, and the construction of a public car park as a key part of that development, as it allowed developers to begin building on what was at the era. an extensive collection of surface lots.
A visual presented at the meeting showed how the East Spring Street Corridor and surrounding area could be enhanced with new development and parks. When the full draft plan is complete, it will include images showing how other downtown neighborhoods could undergo a similar transformation, Hermann said.
The aim is to complete the full draft plan by September, he added, and then present it to city council for approval this fall.
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For more information on the downtown strategic plan, including the opportunity to submit ideas and comments, visit downtowncolumbus.com.
See the slideshow below for more on the presentation – all images from MKSK.