The Greater Hilltop Area Commission (GHAC) voted 13-1 against a plan to reduce traffic lanes on Sullivant Avenue.
The city of Columbus’ plan would reconfigure Sullivant Avenue to one lane of traffic moving in each direction, with a center turn lane and parking on the north side of the street would be eliminated.
The city also plans to add sharrows, which are markings on the road instructing motorists to share the road with bicylists.
Commissioners said they talked with residents and found overwhelming disapproval toward the proposed changes.
Commissioner Gene Klinger said Mound Street has less traffic and would be a better location for bike accomodations.
Some commissioners said residents feel the bike lane on West Broad Street is not used and they do not want Sullivant Avenue altered, too.
“We’re trying to attract business and taking out parking on the north side of the street is crazy,” Commissioner Greg Large said. “Businesses need parking and access.”
Commissioner Geoff Phillips said he favored the plan, but it must be done right. He said he preferred to replace the bike lanes on West Broad Street with shared-lane markings and remove the center lanes.
“You need two lanes on Broad Street,” Phillips said.
Commission chair Chuck Patterson suggested speed enforcement rather than reconfiguration.
Resident Lois Neff also disagreed with the plan.
“Bike paths are better, bike lanes are ridiculous,” Neff said.
Commission vice chair Justin Boggs , who voted in favor of the plan, cited the area plan approved in 2009, which supported biking accommodations.
“A lot of time and money went into that plan and we must support it,” Boggs said.
Nick Popa, from the Columbus Department of Public Safety, said if the plan was turned down, the city would go ahead with another proposal, which erects signs for bicyclists to share the road.
Overflow shelter planned for Westside
An overflow shelter for the homeless could open on the Westside this winter, but the decision does not sit well with the GHAC.
David Hooie, city manager for the Columbus Department of Development, said the shelter is located on Industrial Mile, behind Westland Shopping Center.
This shelter would be used for emergency sleeping arrangements for the homeless between Nov.15 and March 15. The facility would otherwise be used for homeless women.
“What really bothers me is that Franklin Township trustees had not been asked to vote on this decision,” Patterson said. “I understand people need help, but the township has been kept out of the loop.”
Patterson said when he spoke with Franklin Township trustee chair Timothy Guyton, the township was only aware of rumors.
“Why didn’t they look near where jobs and family services are?” Phillips said. “They need to be close to those services, not seven miles away.”
Hooie said the building was the only site that met their requirements. They have a three-year lease on the facility.
The Columbus Shelter Board will supply 190 beds for the building.
“I just hope we aren’t doing something as a city that will create ill feelings with the township,” Patterson said.