Old Towne East

Some opposition to a part of the big downtown split project: “One part of the reconstruction plan would involve tearing down two century-old buildings in the nearby Olde Towne east neighborhood.”

70/71 highway caps under consideration

The city has six favored locations along 70 and 71 where caps are being considered:

Spring, Long and Broad streets are favored sites for caps on the eastern leg of the project, and 3rd, High and Front streets on the southern leg.

It would cost an estimated $53 million to $65 million to build the six caps, which essentially are widened overpasses. They could include trees, even buildings. The more grand, the more expensive.

About $22 million is committed to the caps: $10 million from ODOT and $12 million from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

I think these are as important as streetcars when it comes to downtown revitalization. Think of them as stitches for a really nasty laceration.

Local restaurant uses local food

ThisWeek has a mostly good review for Black Creek Bistro in Old Towne East, which is into the local foods thing:

Here’s a novel thought: a restaurant that not only adopts the sacred “think globally, buy locally” mantra but really puts it into practice.

That’s exactly what’s happening at Black Creek Bistro, which has a built-in supply system. Father-and-son owners Kent and Jamie Peters run a farm in Canal Winchester where they harvest a number of ingredients for their menu. The bill of fare is largely comfort food with a few contemporary brushstrokes.

The duck sounds good.

Fix the split

Cap City Savvy is writing about that big gash that separates downtown from German Village:

Am I being naive? I hope not, but the sad fact is that this project is almost 4 years behind schedule. I think we reached the “paralysis by analysis” stage way back in 2005.

That said, I’m glad they put the brakes on the project once they realized that city leaders and residents weren’t going to stand for uncapped freeways, or a wider divide. There’s been quite a bit of resentment towards the split since ODOT built that moat separating German Village and Old Towne East from Downtown in the 60’s.

ODOT has an article up:

ODOT TO SHARE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FIXING DOWNTOWN “SPLIT”

The Ohio Department of Transportation will hold public meetings in June to share its recommendations for narrowing the two options for rebuilding the Interstate 70/71 “Split” along the south side of downtown Columbus.

ODOT considers the highway one of the most congested, high-crash freeway locations in the state. It was built more than 40 years ago, and carries about 175,000 vehicles a day — about 50,000 more than the highway was designed to handle. As a result, the highway experiences about two crashes each day or 800 a year.

For the past six months, the Department has been comparing two alternatives — Mound/Fulton and Livingston/Fulton — to determine which option does a better job of improving safety and travel with fewer negative impacts to the public.

The ODOT site has maps, a pdf presentation, and is taking comments. There will be two public meetings:

WHEN & WHERE:

June 11 and 13
Open House from 5 to 7 p.m.
Columbus Health Department Auditorium
240 Parsons Avenue (corner of Parsons and Main)
Free parking in rear

Also at RetroMetro.

Caps like the one connecting the Short North to downtown are not a part of ODOT’s plans. This will apparently be a discretionary matter to be decided later. Moving the on and off ramps is a good idea, but any solution that doesn’t address reconnecting the city above is only half a solution. Here’s a 2003 post from City Comforts on the Short North cap:

You say big deal: a city street. Exactly. But it is a city street which is crossing a freeway. I say, yes it is a very big deal.

The American freeways changed the world through which they ran. They facilitated a vast expansion of suburbs and ripped asunder many city neighborhoods. The project… started out, in the mind of the Ohio Highway Department as a simple widening of the I-670 as it rolls through Columbus, Ohio. But the adjoining neighborhoods put up a fight. (This is my casual from-a-distance understanding of what happened.)

The compromise proposed by some local genius was to make the new overpass (neccesitated by the wider freeway) into a city street by lining it with shops to “link rather than divide.” It is under construction now.

In terms of the daily lives of potentially millions, this is architecture at its finest. This is significant, this is meaningful. This is re-building, re-forming the world. Starchitects might well pay attention.

We need that on the south side of downtown too.

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