Columbus, Ohio USA
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Still No Sidewalk on W. 3rd Avenue
By Joel Knepp
July/August 2017 Issue

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The January/February 2016 issue of the Short North Gazette featured a column of mine (A Bridge Too Far) addressing the city’s failure to provide safe walking/biking/handicap access from the Short North to the Market District Giant Eagle and other businesses on West 3rd Avenue. For several months, with the closing of the Thurber Village Giant Eagle, the Market District has been the closest grocery store for many Short North residents, yet it is still not safely accessible other than by motor vehicle.

In February 2016, Jeff Ortega, assistant director of the Department of Public Service, stated in an email that construction would start in July of that year, which did not happen. On November 7, a contract for nearly $14 million was approved by Columbus City Council for a project to include the rebuilding of the railroad bridge over West 3rd Avenue west of Olentangy River Road and the construction of a multi-use sidewalk enabling safe access to the Market District and nearby businesses. This would also provide access to the Short North by Grandview Yard residents. After the contract approval, the city published the following:

“The city of Columbus is continuing its initiative to improve the public infrastructure on West 3rd Avenue between Olentangy River Road and Edgehill Road. The project will facilitate traffic flow, improve safety and provide pedestrian and bicyclist accommodations. Construction on the final phase will begin Nov. 28, 2016, and end in autumn 2017, subject to weather conditions.”

In spite of our mildest winter in several years, the work did not begin last November and hasn’t begun as of this writing.

On May 9, Kevin Kidder of the city stated via email that construction would begin in 4 to 6 weeks. On June 28, more than 7 weeks later, 12 months after the city’s first start date and 7 months after the second start date, work on this project had yet to begin. On June 28 Mr. Kidder communicated the following:

“Work is expected to begin shortly. There is an issue with the retaining wall that the city is working with the railroad on, and once that is resolved the project will move forward. It is my understanding that we are close to resolving the issue.”

Years after the construction of Grandview Yard and businesses on W. 3rd, the sidewalk to this important destination remains a project which is perpetually promised but never achieved, and there is still no safe, handicap-accessible means of going from the Short North to the Market District without a motor vehicle.Inquiries can be directed to the following:

Jeff Ortega, Assistant Director, Columbus Department of Public Services: 614-645-7805, cell 614-373-1501
Shannon G. Hardin, City Council Member and Chair of the Public Service and Transportation Committee: 614-645-5291

Joel Knepp lives in Victorian Village with his wife Lynda McClanahan, an artist.
They performed as the musical duo Nick & Polina for many years in the area.

© 2017 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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