Columbus, Ohio USA
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Italian Village Society Complete Streets Implementing Committee

Submitted by Andy Klein
May 2017 Issue

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MEETING MINUTES: March 30 and April 27, 2017 at Seventh Son Brewing Co., 1101 N. Fourth Street

Present: Andy Klein (Chair), Jim Templeton, Isom Nivins, Doreen Uhas Sauer, Chistopher Vidoni, Rex Hagerling, Pasquale Grado, Sherrill Massey. Thurs, March 30, 2017, 5:30pm, Seventh Son, 1101 N. Fourth St.

Andy called the Streets Committee to order at 5:33 pm in the back room at the brewery, asking everyone to introduce themselves, give their affiliation and the signs of spring they’ve noticed.

Converting Warren Street b/w Summit and Kerr to One Way Eastbound Jim reported that he’s a resident on Warren Street, and recounted the peculiar vehicular traffic flow on Warren: two-way b/w High and Pearl, one-way eastbound between Pearl and Kerr, two-way b/w Kerr and Summit, 2-way split with a street median between Summit and Hamlet, and one-way eastbound between Hamlet and N. Fourth Street. Earlier this year, after Jim and his neighbors’ cars suffered numerous lost side mirrors and cosmetic scrapes from passing cars squeezing through in two directions, he began working with City Councilperson Shannon Hardin’s aide Zach Davidson to address his concerns. Many of the residents have no off street parking. Zach’s research of police reports reveals that the number of accidents reported is less than the actual number of incidents, likely due to insurance deductibles making claims not worthwhile. Jim has reached out to his neighbors about a solution and they agree that a traffic study is warranted to determine if one-way eastbound is feasible. Andy asked if one-way westbound had been considered. Jim noted the most significant congestion is caused by cars turning west onto Warren from Summit. The city installed a bump out at the marked crosswalk at the NW corner of Summit and Warren last year, intended to provide pedestrians some protection from turning vehicles, although neighbors hoped it signaled an impending change to remove turns onto Warren through the crosswalk. Jim also cited apparent driver confusion in vehicles entering IV from Summit which continue the wrong way on Warren toward High Street. Christopher noted there was a previous Facebook discussion on the IV page concerning accidents at the intersection of Kerr and Warren. Andy noted a long history of concerns about that intersection dating to the early 1980’s when a four way stop was first proposed and then (without official approval) installed for a few weeks. The committee agreed to recommend at the next IVS general meeting that the Society endorse the proposed traffic study to convert Warren to one-way eastbound between Kerr and Summit, and send the endorsement to the city’s Public Service Department, attention Reynaldo Stargell, with copies to Councilperson Shannon Hardin, attention Zach Davidson, IV Commission, attention Jamie Goodman, and Jim Templeton. Andy expressed his appreciation for Jim’s initiative in this matter, and thanked him for attending the meeting.

Short North Parking Study Update Andy distributed announcements of the four upcoming public open houses to be held in the next month, and encouraged those in attendance to go to tonight’s first open house at the Goodale Shelterhouse. IVS will devote a portion of its April general meeting to a discussion of the parking open houses.

I-670 Exit Ramp Update Andy reported that Wagenbrenner continues to work through its traffic engineers with ODOT and the city to formalize the scope of a further traffic study of the impacts on adjacent exit ramps from the proposed ramp closure from I-670 Westbound onto N. Fourth Street northbound, with further updates expected soon.

Sidewalk and Curb Survey Andy noted that it’s been a year and we still have not completed the proposed survey. Christopher indicated his willingness to continue to spearhead the effort, Andy noted that MORPC has a new GIS capability to identify neighborhoods block by block and that he should contact Shannon Fergus for more details.

UIRF Update Doreen and Pasquale reported that the University Planning Committee has met to prioritize their UIRF plan, and that $500m previously allocated for a center median on High Street was available for other improvements. Plans now call for parking along both sides of High Street, making a center median unfeasible. One suggestion for a substitute improvement was sign toppers for identifying historic neighborhoods in the University District. Andy asked if there were streetscape updates for the Short North improvements scheduled from E. Seventh to E. Ninth Avenues. Doreen indicated that Matt Hanson of UDO/UCBA is coordinating with Betsy Pandora, and she would check. Doreen distributed a flyer from OSU’s Chadwick Arboretum offering free trees through a “Branch Out Buckeyes” collaboration with the city. Residents are offered up to two sapling trees for their yard but they must be ordered by April 10 (contact Christina at cdvoise@gmail.com with 400 available to the OSU community for pick up April 14 at Nationwide 4H Center on Fred Taylor Drive.

Undesignating US 23 Doreen expressed her continued interest in the concept of re-routing US 23 along I-71 to make Summit and N. Fourth Streets more neighborhood friendly. Andy noted that any effort to close the exit onto N. Fourth Street from I-670 West would be enhanced by not having N. Fourth Street designated as a state route.

Landscaping on Summit at I-670
Sherrill noted the loss of four ash trees along Summit south of Warren, and expressed the need to insulate the neighbors from both the noise and pollution of that busy intersection. Andy noted that the landscaping was part of remediation by ODOT for the damage to the historic district from expanding I-670 (Spring-Sandusky Interchange) 15 or so years ago, and that landscaping at I-670 and Eden Alley has also been compromised. He suggested we combine Summit and I-670 with our efforts to remediate the remediation at Eden & I-670. Sherrill also noted an opportunity for planting trees on N. Fourth Street if the exit from I-670 gets removed.

Columbia Gas Meter Replacement Program Rex noted activity replacing meters in Dennison Place, and asked for our experience with the program to move meters from inside to outside. Doreen said the University experience has been positive, with efforts to preserve the historic fabric and a minimal exposure of the new meters to the street, most being at the rear of properties adjoining the inside meter’s former location. Andy noted IV’s positive experience with Columbia Gas reconstructing E. Fourth Avenue’s sidewalks between High and Summit last year to replace a main gas line, but no meters were replaced.

Street Names Project
Doreen reported that WOSU’s Neighborhoods series is doing a story on street names and asked if IV had any interesting stories. Andy reported that Ottar Alley is really Ottawa Alley but a courthouse fire destroyed the original plat maps and in re-copying them, Ottawa became Ottar. He also suggested that for the same reason Punta Alley may have originally been named Pinta, and that Booth Street was renamed Detroit Avenue around 1904 at a time, Doreen suggested, when the city was trying to eliminate duplicates in its street names, although there are not other Booth Streets in the current city.

Meeting Adjourned at 6:21 pm.
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Thurs, April 27, 2017, 5:30pm
Present: Andy Klein, Sherrill Massey

Andy called the Streets Committee to order at 5:46 pm in the back room at the brewery.

Short North Parking Study Update Andy distributed the IVS survey results letter sent to Parking Services Coordinator Amanda Ford, with copies to Council President Zach Klein and Development Department head Steve Schoeny. IVS board members gave the survey at the Junior Achievement Open House to 36 attendees summarizing different aspects of the pilot program. Andy expressed his appreciation for the board following through on this important subject. Sherrill noted she’d had a flyer placed on her windshield announcing organized opposition to the pilot parking plan. Andy reported he’d attended a meeting of the disaffected at Thompson Rec Center last Saturday, with about 50 residents (an estimate, since no attendance sheet or minutes were taken) expressing their support for exclusive parking rights for residents only with a $50 permit and free visitor passes. Realtor Ken Wightman summarized the overriding sentiment by noting that “Short North residents don't have a parking problem, Short North businesses have a parking problem.” Andy expressed his concern that the parking study group was characterized as having “only one resident, and she has a garage” when in fact multiple neighborhood associations (including Weinland Park, Harrison West, Italian Village, and Victorian Village) had representatives at the table, although none was mentioned by name nor was present at the meeting. The four open houses sponsored by the city having concluded, a new plan will be proposed incorporating concerns expressed by the Thompson Rec Center opponents, open house attendees, and those who responded online.

Columbus Landmarks’ Council of Historic Neighborhoods Andy noted he’d attended a CNHC organizing meeting last week. Operating with the support of Columbus Landmarks Foundation, the group plans a formal re-launch on May 31. The annual meeting of CLF will be at Cristo Rey High School (former Deaf School) on May 15 at 5:30. Andy noted that CNHC currently includes neighborhoods within the pre-1950 city boundaries, but is considering extending membership eligibility to neighborhoods 50 years or older. Andy expressed his belief that changing the criteria would dilute our message and be like inviting the wolf to guard the hen house.
Sandstone Curbs Update Andy distributed copies of the proposed Sandstone Curb Replacement Standards prepared by Frank Williams, Transportation Operations Coordinator for the city. The draft proposes offering at no cost sandstone curbs from city inventory to replace sufficiently deteriorated sandstone in “city historic districts,” to be permitted and installed by contractors hired by the property owner. Sherrill noted the need to locate existing curb cuts for storm drains, noting a hole she’d drilled had been concreted over during a water or gas repair. She also noted a recommended contractor’s list would be useful. She thought it important to replace concrete patches, and believes sandstone curbs should be replaced with like regardless of location in the city.

Richard Florida Lecture at OSU Andy briefly discussed Richard Florida’s lecture on “the New Urban Crisis” described as a “winner take all” urbanism with loser cities and winner and loser neighborhoods within cities resulting in economic and geographic isolation and, as prices rise (in his Toronto neighborhood the average median price of a single family detached home is $1.7 million) the annihilation of the middle class neighborhood. His solution involved empowering the lower class with an emphasis on the urban political agenda and empowering small units of government rather than federal or state authorities.

Undesignating US 23 Andy noted that IVS has invited N. Fourth Street property owners and developers to the May 9 general meeting for a roundtable discussion of what’s been dubbed the “Short Fourth.” Andy asked what items the committee wanted to ask the developers. Sherrill noted the importance of re-routing US 23 as a step towards improving safety, and agreed to research the history of US 23’s route through Columbus through her connection with Ben McCown, county cartographer.

N. Fourth Street Roundtable The following items should be raised at the roundtable. (1) the need for an interstate intersection solution that addresses landscaping, speed, and pedestrian and bicycle safety. Sherrill noted that the entrance onto I-670 westbound can remain intact but closure of the exit onto N. Fourth is the best solution without inconveniencing motorists who can exit under the convention center instead. (2) how to address noise from traffic and businesses. Such intrusions could be measured by decibel counting apps for smart phones, and mitigated by landscaping such as tree planting. (3) the committee agreed that the bike lanes have reduced the perception that restoring two-way traffic to Summit and Fourth would be helpful. (4) water drainage issues from overpaving the neighborhood. Sherrill noted the “de-paving” movement based in Portland, Oregon. She suggested the old Second Avenue School and other schools with asphalted perimeters throughout the city would be good candidates; Andy noted the industrial parking lots around Clark Grave Vault at the terminus of E. Fourth Avenue as good candidates for de-paving. Sherrill noted the good example of the Jeffrey de-paving and distributed a handout on Landscapes of Change by Roxi Thoren describing creative ways to incorporate landscaping into new developments. Examples to avoid include the dumping of debris along Summit at I-670. Although it got cleaned up in short order, she noted the continued homeless debris at the rear of 108 E Lincoln over the right of way fence as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

High Street Streetscape Improvements Meeting Andy distributed a flyer noting the upcoming meeting on May 2 at the Convention Center’s Eisenman and Trott Rooms from 4:30 to 7 with presentation from 5:15 to 6pm. The four segments of construction will be discussed, with Phases 1 and 4 already in final design (at the extreme southern and northern edge of the project) and Phases 2 and 3 still in the conceptual stage. Complete replacement of curbs and sidewalks from street to building will widen sidewalks and reduce traffic to one lane each direction with a shared center turn lane. Andy noted that out of a concern for cost and supply considerations, sandstone curbs are probably not applicable here.

Meeting Adjourned at 6:33 pm.

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These minutes, as well as those of the IVS general meetings, are available online in PDF format at www.italianvillage.org

REGULAR MONTHLY MEETINGS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

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