Westenedge Redesign Discussion
Westenedge Drive. Many of us use this road every day: on our way to work, school, soccer practice, and more. Being so heavily used, the city has decided to devote funding and a proposed redesign plan to improve the condition of the road as well as its safety features. Surprisingly, there is a large amount of controversy surrounding the project. In fact, about 8 years ago, the project was put on hold due to the amount of opposition coming from the people who live here.
To assist in the project, planning and transportation consultant Mark Fenton came in to help facilitate discussion between people who live on Westenedge Drive about what future changes the would prefer be made. This was Mark’s second 2016 visit to Columbus. He came earlier this year to kick start the discussion. Later this year, the city will present more definite design proposals that will be based on the discussion that took place during the workshop at Parkside Elementary School on June 29th.
More about Mark Fenton can be found here.
To accomplish the goals of the redesign project, certain conditions must be met. For example, one proposal includes inserting traffic calming techniques in the center of the street, which may call for the road to be slightly widened. A major goal of the project is to establish where a sidewalk or walking trail could go, and on which, or both, sides of the road. The controversy revolves around what must happen for the best result in the end.
In one word, the mood at Parkside Elementary on June 29th could only be described as tense. This was expected! People care about their yards! It was pointed out to me that, for most people in the country, their home is one of the most valuable things that they own. Of course these people want to make sure they fully understand any potential changes. Lots of new vocabulary was introduced to the Westenedge Drive folks, some of which are detailed below. You can view some sketches of a few of the ideas for Westenedge at the bottom of the page.
Among other things, people most commonly raised concerns about their trees/yard space, water runoff, maintaining a sidewalk, and how greatly the redesign will impact safety.
Traffic calming - design techniques to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists with the goal of encouraging safer, more responsible driving and potentially reduced traffic flow
Mini roundabout – a type of intersection that is small in diameter and offers the same benefits as a regular roundabout that produces traffic calming effects
Traffic Circle - a type of intersection that directs both turning and through traffic onto a one-way circular roadway, usually built for the purposes of traffic calming or aesthetics
Curb pop-outs - extending a sidewalk all forward into the street so that pedestrians can see traffic, but from the safety of the sidewalk; often, curbs are pushed forward if parking is available nearby (ex- downtown Columbus)
Refuge Islands - a small section of pavement or sidewalk, completely surrounded by asphalt or other road materials, where pedestrians can stop before finishing crossing a road
Median Islands - the reserved area that separates opposing lanes of traffic on divided roadways