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Columbus: I-70/I-71 Split Project

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I just read a story on the cover of the German Village Gazette about the split.  It said that ODOT finally stepped up and took the uber crappy Grand Boulevard scheme off the table.  It will now focus on the Livingston/Fulton and Fulton/Mound plans.

 

I couldn't find anything on the www.snponline.com website.

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The Dispatch tries, but the dates and names don't seem to match.  It's

Yellow book, Bergendoff, Bartholomew, then ODOT on the chronological order

of proposals on the innerbelt. Columbus Public Library doesn't have a copy

of any city trans. plan between 1952 (Bergendoff) and 1973 (first MORPC

report) and their news index doesn't make it before 1962 so there is no easy

way to follow this up. :|

http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/06/19/20060619-A1-03.html

 

FREEWAY FIXES

I-70/71 split is divisive in other ways

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tim Doulin

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Some call the I-70/71 split Downtown a scar on the city.

 

About 1.5 miles long, the stretch of freeway is blamed for separating Downtown from German Village and Olde Towne East.

 

It is not a problem unique to Columbus.

 

"Since the day after they dug the first trench for a freeway, people realized, 'Hey, we used to talk about being on the other side of the tracks,'"said Ben Coifman, associate professor of civil engineering and electrical engineering at Ohio State University. "Now, it is the other side of the freeway."

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The cost of fixing the split will likely be in excess of $600 million!?!? What!!!? I thought I heard Harvey Wasserman mention something about adding a lane (lanes?) to I-7I that was going to cost $500 million, so is this what he was talking about? I thought maybe it was for the stretch between Columbus-Cleveland.

 

In Austin their starting light rail route is expected to cost $60 million with operating costs around a measly $5 million (http://allsystemsgo.capmetro.org/community_input_full.asp). So he was right, we could have light rail AND it could be subsidized for years with that money...ODOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :whip:

 

 

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The mayor's office is on a roll lately!  First a major decision about the main st. bridge, and now the major decision to let ODOT go through with it's plans (and placing emphasis were it belongs...on caps, not a grand boulevard).  What's next...long awaited news about RiverSouth?!?!

 

10 caps eh?

 

Here's how I would rank them...

1st tier - Front, High, 3rd, Broad

2nd tier - Long, 4th, Main

3rd tier - Grant, Spring

 

That's 9 right there.  The only other possibilities would be Town, Fulton/Livingston at the turn, or 2nd street once it is rebuilt through the Brewery District.

 

I wonder if any of these caps might get the Condo treatment?

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I'd like to see that. I wonder how high they could build them with their weight + their being over a highway. Now they've got to find funding and start building them.

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Anything is possible with these caps. They could have businesses, housing, whatever. I remember talking about a series of caps like these with then-Columbus City Councilman Sensenbrenner and his reaction was "Wow, you think BIG!". Well, here we are.

 

I'd bet we'll see maybe five of these out of the ten the city wants, because of the cost...

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Here's the rest of the info from the Dispatch...

 

Ar0210301.gif

 

It looks like they want Front to 3rd and Spring to Broad will be capped with plazas and retail.

 

With the pricetag of almost $60 million, I can't see the city justifying either of those plaza caps on the east side.

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Okay, enough politicking.

 

Grasscat: you bake those brownies of yours. ColDayMan, you whip up some snickerdoodles. MayDay, you get the cardtable, I'm going the store for posterboard and markers:

 

We're having a bakesale and raising the money and doing it OUR way.

 

And stay out, ODOT. You're not allowed.

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Okay, enough politicking.

 

Grasscat: you bake those brownies of yours. ColDayMan, you whip up some snickerdoodles. MayDay, you get the cardtable, I'm going the store for posterboard and markers:

 

We're having a bakesale and raising the money and doing it OUR way.

 

And stay out, ODOT. You're not allowed.

 

I'm black.  We don't *do* snickerdoodles.


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Lemon squares?  Are you IMPLYING, you Metro Detroit racist, that BLACKS love to use lemons because we make LEMONADE?!?!  Is THAT what you are SAYING!!!?!?!

 

- May the Force be with you because God ain't!!!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Here's the rest of the info from the Dispatch...

 

Ar0210301.gif

 

Now who wants to doodle these on a google map (cuz they're the nicest looking in my opinion) so we can see what these caps will look like on a map? And will chocolate macaroons suffice?

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...And will chocolate macaroons suffice?

 

Easy with the "chocolate macaroons" comments, dig?

 

Moving on...

 

So are we to assume at this point the ODOT has addressed and blessed a traffic-flow solution for the freeways and all we're doing now is wondering what's going on at street level? If so, I say pop caps all over the place. Unless I'm missing something, the High St. model appears to be working.

 

 

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We'll have to wait for the split to get fixed before any caps will appear, which will be years from now. They should ditch fixing the split and just cap if you ask me. Now, when they say a plaza cap between Long and Broad they mean that there will be a plaza covering the entire freeway exposed between those two bridges? That's be awesome. Prediction: a high number of acidents will continue to take place regardless due to the high number of drivers on the road, which won't be reduced by fixing the split.

 

How about mixed white and milk chocoalte macaroons living in harmony?

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I don't think that's right.  ODOT intended to implement two caps as part of the project to fix the split.  I wouldn't see how 10 caps wouldn't be constructed at the same time as well.  It's just building a wider bridge.

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Lemon squares?  Are you IMPLYING, you Metro Detroit racist, that BLACKS love to use lemons because we make LEMONADE?!?!  Is THAT what you are SAYING!!!?!?!

 

- May the Force be with you because God ain't!!!

 

I guess you never heard Robert Johnson sing about squeezing lemons.

 

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We'll have to wait for the split to get fixed before any caps will appear, which will be years from now. They should ditch fixing the split and just cap if you ask me. Now, when they say a plaza cap between Long and Broad they mean that there will be a plaza covering the entire freeway exposed between those two bridges? That's be awesome. Prediction: a high number of acidents will continue to take place regardless due to the high number of drivers on the road, which won't be reduced by fixing the split.

 

How about mixed white and milk chocoalte macaroons living in harmony?

 

Then this all just seems like a big wankfest for planners, above grade and below. Unless caps and "Grand Boulevards (we have one of those in Detroit, and it's only "Grand" in places) are covering over a practical solution for what is seen as a traffic hazard, then it seems like everybody here is on a crash course for disappointment.

 

Nonetheless, I'm going to go read backwards here for four pages and attempt to gain insight as to how government agencies can travel so gracefully is such "grand" circles.

 

At my most cantankerous, I say yeah: cover up the freeway and find feasable, affordable solutions for diminishing automobile traffic while boosting the safety and usability of our downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

 

Oh, I don't know, something crazy like--LIGHT FREAKING RAIL!!!

 

Signed,

 

King "White Chocolate" Fish

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SILENCE, WITH YOUR RACIST COMMENTS!!!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Damnit!  FOILED AGAIN!!!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Damnit!  FOILED AGAIN!!!

 

Hey Ray Nagin.  You coming back to New Orleans, or are you just going to play mayor by proxy? :-D

 

Columbus should be a CHOCOLATE CITY!!!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Damnit!  FOILED AGAIN!!!

 

arrrr, you got it wrong, it is:  Curses! FOILED AGAIN!

 

 

listen to the song snoopy vs the red baron, then take the red baron part and jump to eddie rickenbacker, giving you the local reference

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From ThisWeek Clintonville, 11/30/06:

 

 

Public can comment on I-70/71 split Dec. 5

Thursday, November 30, 2006

 

The public will have a chance next week to weigh in on a thorny issue city and state officials have been wrestling with for the past four years: What to do with the congested "downtown split" of Interstates 70 and 71.

 

A public meeting to answer questions and take suggestions on the overtaxed stretch of highway will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m.

 

The gathering, which will feature Ohio Department of Transportation officials and urban designers, will be held in the auditorium of the Columbus Health Department, 240 Parsons Ave. Parking is available behind the building, which is at the intersection of Parsons Avenue and East Main Street.

 

http://www.thisweeknews.com/index.php?sec=clintonville&story=sites/thisweeknews/113006/Clintonville/News/113006-News-268784.html

 

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State to unveil plan to put caps over highways

Project could reunite Downtown with neighborhoods, but funding is a hurdle

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Debbie Gebolys

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

If money were no object, a rebuilt I-70/71 through Downtown could bore like a tunnel beneath a series of decorative bridges, landscaped promenades and commercial buildings.

 

Above the highway, Downtown could reconnect to German Village and the Near East Side in a way that hasn’t been possible since the highways slashed through the city more than 40 years ago.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/12/05/20061205-D4-00.html

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^ The Parsons cap needs to be dropped. The purpose of a cap is to connect neighborhoods.  If they want that one to serve a purpose, they'll need to extend over the other three interchanges.

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It's huge oversights like this that just make me puzzled. Like when the Cap over 670 was built without any place for businesses to take trash out other than the front door (can't take it out back, obviously) and then the streetcar group didn't even include a route that didn't over I-71-70. Why have everything priced in 2008 dollars if a route is not going to start to get built until 5-8 years later? Because that's how long we'd have to wait for the bridge to get fixed before a streetcar could go south of split since construction is supposed to start in 2010. Why not start on a route from somewhere downtown to OSU and maybe even include that west loop in the Arena District? The OSU route, starting from German Village to OSU, was one of the highest rated routes, but was dropped as the 1st one due to funding. With the German Village loop out of the picture, just until the bridge is ready, it would be just as feasible to do, the ridership would be there, and OSU would provide some funding. By then, we'll be ready for that route extension.

 

Now, for ODOT to make such an oversight with the cap to nowhere, that is just ridiculous. Let's say they did in fact plan to cap the other three highways to the north. It would still be horrible because there is nothing there at that intersection except for a bunch of open space surrounding the large Ohio Asylum for the Blind building which is set back off the street, so it wouldn't connect very well anyway, would be very expensive, you'd still have to walk under an overpass to get to the other caps and who's going to invest all of that money into developments bordering a ghetto? I'm assuming you're going to point out how terrible this cap is at the meeting.

 

edit: Ha! The meeting is taking place at that very building on Parsons. What are the odds?  :lol:

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Over Parsons is going to be a walkway, not a cap. They say a number of people use the walkway but it's not in good shape and is close to the road. I like the caps and all, but shouldn't we be putting $850 million towards phasing out a stretch of highway and replacing it with light rail? That would take care of the costly maintenence costs of that stretch of highway while  providing good mass transit in the near future. Or we could just keep doing what we've been doing.

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Some similar news from Georgia....

 

 

5th St. Bridge: Green path over Connector

Unusual project ties Tech campus to new buildings

 

By ARIEL HART

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 12/05/06

 

Atlanta's newest park is planted in quite a place: 17 feet above Downtown Connector motorists.

 

There is nothing else like it in the state, say Georgia Department of Transportation officials. The Fifth Street Bridge, officially finished today, has more than tripled in size as it spans I-75/I-85 downtown, giving the feel of a garden rather than a bridge, and adding no additional car lanes.

 

Find this article at:

http://www.ajc.com/news/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2006/12/04/1205metbridge.html 

 

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It's huge oversights like this that just make me puzzled. Like when the Cap over 670 was built without any place for businesses to take trash out other than the front door (can't take it out back, obviously) and then the streetcar group didn't even include a route that didn't over I-71-70. Why have everything priced in 2008 dollars if a route is not going to start to get built until 5-8 years later? Because that's how long we'd have to wait for the bridge to get fixed before a streetcar could go south of split since construction is supposed to start in 2010. Why not start on a route from somewhere downtown to OSU and maybe even include that west loop in the Arena District? The OSU route, starting from German Village to OSU, was one of the highest rated routes, but was dropped as the 1st one due to funding. With the German Village loop out of the picture, just until the bridge is ready, it would be just as feasible to do, the ridership would be there, and OSU would provide some funding. By then, we'll be ready for that route extension.

 

1) The streetcar routes all went to German Village because of the density that the neighborhood already has.  To leave out our densest, most streetcar-ready neighborhood would be an enormous folly.

 

2) Leaving out the GV southern loop wouldn't save you much money in the grand scheme of things.  As a guess, I'd say somewhere in the $20 million range out of a total of $80-100 (ish).  If the caps cost aorund $150 million on top of that, it really isn't buying you much.

 

3) The extension to OSU was dropped because it was ranked #2.  It could very easily be added to the #1 ranked line once it's up and running.  I know you're frustrated because they went with the #1 ranked line over the #2 ranked line, but lets focus on getting the first cars running before we get greedy.

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Wait, is German Village really the densest neighborhood for streetcars over OSU? I have a hard time fathoming that, especially with the lack of several blocks of dorm towers there. Just walking around OSU vs German Village I see many more people on the street around OSU. Of course, the loop is what would increase the ridership in German Village whereas there was only a possible loop planned to Neil which would result in even higher ridership in the campus area. As far as the cost goes, I'm just wanting it to cost the same by just adding the same amount of tracks in the place of those south of the split. We can dispute why the OSU ranked slightly lower, but I really just want either streetcar line up and running, but with one that goes south of the split well, we kinda have to wait for that to get done first and construction is going to start until sometime in 2010. Shouldn't we avoid having to wait years for the split to get fixed and just get a streetcar running on a good, solid route?

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Hopefully it's not to late to look into replacing this freeway going through downtown with a boulevard as shown in this article:

 

http://www.cnu.org/news/index.cfm?formAction=cnu_update_archive&cnu_update_id=90&CFID=15301850&CFTOKEN=39925196

 

There was also a relevant thread titled: What highway or interchange would you remove and for what?

 

http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php?topic=8230.0

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"Having a pedestrian bridge in an urban environment is almost an oxymoron, it's usually all about cars," said Susan Mendheim, president of the Midtown Alliance, a group of community and business leaders who advocate for planning in Midtown. "It was an incredibly bold project."

 

My eyes nearly exploded reading this.  If this woman thinks urban environments are usually all about cars, she hasn't been in a true urban environment.  How far our cities have fallen to the glories of the automobile!

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"Having a pedestrian bridge in an urban environment is almost an oxymoron, it's usually all about cars," said Susan Mendheim, president of the Midtown Alliance, a group of community and business leaders who advocate for planning in Midtown. "It was an incredibly bold project."

 

My eyes nearly exploded reading this.  If this woman thinks urban environments are usually all about cars, she hasn't been in a true urban environment.  How far our cities have fallen to the glories of the automobile!

 

To be fair, Ms. Mendheim is a representative of Midtown, Mars.

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I wrote an email to Michelle May who is listed as the contact for the I-70/I-71 study. The more I look at this project the more I find I don't like how they are handling it. Here it is and let me know if I left something important out. Maybe I should've posted it 1st before sending it...

 

Dear Ms. May,

 

Might I suggest looking into transforming the section of 1-70-71 that goes through downtown into a street level boulevard? Doing so would be much more cost effective than to sink an endless supply of millions of dollars into the black hole that is our overextensive highway system. It would also mean no bridges would be needed on this stretch and therefore no need to spend millions more on making them capable of holding caps and sustain the weight of streetcars or light rail. Also, the entire stretch would be completely covered, not a patchwork of caps, making the prohibitively expensive tunnel option unnecessary. The options for urban infill that could occur in the area would greatly increase since weight limits would not be an issue. The amount of money saved could be used for other transportation projects, like the streetcar system. So not only would this save a lot of money, it would also do an excellent job of re-integrating neighborhoods to downtown. Thanks for your time.

 

Article from the Congress of the New Urbanism on boulevards replacing freeways in downtowns.

http://www.cnu.org/news/index.cfm?formAction=cnu_update_archive&cnu_update_id=90&CFID=15301850&CFTOKEN=39925196

 

Jill Kruse's study on the positive impacts of less highways in numerous cities.

http://ntl.bts.gov/card_view.cfm?docid=1165

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