By Katelyn Sattler
Michael Liggett, a transportation planner with the city of Columbus, gave an update on the Hilltop Neighborhood Bikeway plan at the May 10 Greater Hilltop Area Commission meeting.
The city will be expanding the areas bikeways. When completed, this expansion will provide a safe, low-stress bike route connecting to multiple community assets, including a complete east-west route from Wilson Road Park/Camp Chase Trail to the Glenwood Community Center.
According to Liggett, South Wayne Avenue from Broad Street to Wicklow Road and Belvidere Avenue from Broad Street to Sullivant Avenue are going to be converted to two-way streets. Permanent bicycle lanes will be installed on Clarendon Avenue from Palmetto Street to Ong Street and on Whitethorn Avenue from Ong Street to alley north. A temporary bicycle lane will be installed on South Oakley from Plum Street to Palmetto Street.
These lanes provide cyclists a safe and designated space to ride on one-way streets in the opposite direction of motor vehicle traffic.
The city also says contraflow bike lanes will require a minimal loss of on-street parking spaces.
“One of our projects did detailed parking counts for both the a.m. and p.m. along these sections of streets. So the removal of that parking is not going to have a negative impact,” said Liggett.
City leaders said the goal is to get this implemented this summer.
“We’re actually going to be going out to those five streets that are either being converted or getting a contraflow lane and physically dropping notification postcards to make sure that those residents on those streets are well aware of the changes that are coming,” said Liggett.
Commissioner Malik Moore suggested that city officials talk to police officers regarding traffic in the area.
“I think if you talked to the police officers, you’d find out that there are high incidents of interpersonal conflict in that area that I see making two-way traffic is only going to amplify,” he said.
“To address that concern – in the past year, we have gone through the Linden neighborhood and converted almost all of their one way residential streets to two-way. We have not had any negative reports back from Columbus Police,” Liggett responded.
Liggett said a combination of signage and pavement markings will mark the route.
Commissioner Patrick Barnacle said he would prefer to see concrete barriers instead of marked signage.
“Other cities are not afraid to put concrete structures on the road that will destroy cars to protect pedestrians and bicycles. And I think that we need to be willing to do the same thing here,” said Barnacle.
Commission chairman Dan Fagan thanked the city for the update on the bike plan but said he feel it needs more discussion.
“This topic really needs more time. I’m probably going to have to say to some of these presentations that we’re going to have to send them to committee and then come back to the full commission because I do not feel good about closing this discussion down.”