Special Community Meeting Regarding Proposed Speed Limit Increase

temporary 25mph speed sign

photo by 10tv.com

On the basis of a traffic-speed study conducted several months ago, the city of Columbus proposes to increase the “temporary” 25 miles per hour posted speed limits on Neil, King and West Third Avenues to 30 miles per hour and on West Fifth Avenue to 35 miles per hour.

The speed limit on these four streets was reduced in 1995 during the re-construction of I-670 and the Spring-Sandusky Interchange in order to calm the additional traffic expected to pass through Harrison West, Victorian Village, and the surrounding neighborhoods as a result of the construction. The neighborhoods worked with the city and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to mitigate the effects that large volumes of traffic were projected to have on our unique residential neighborhoods. Among the outcomes of their discussions were the temporary speed reductions, which have remained in place long after the construction wrapped up.

A Shared Streets Working Group has been formed among the Short North Civic Association, the Harrison West Society and the University Area Commission to ensure that all issues relating to the impact of traffic on our neighborhoods and the shared use of streets by pedestrians, bicycles and motor vehicles are addressed. The working group has asked the Columbus Department of Public Service for a more comprehensive plan that addresses speed limits, traffic-signal timing and enforcement. Unless another solution can be found to calm traffic, the groups believes that any increase in the 25 miles per hour speed limit on the four affected streets is unreasonable and that the current limit should be made permanent.

It is important for the neighborhood to know that there is a working group focused on this issue. Serving on the working group are Jack Decker, Short North Civic Association (SNCA) President, attorney, Victorian Village Commissioner and Neil Avenue resident; Rob Pettit SNCA Past President and Neil Avenue resident; Maryellen O’Shaugnessy, former Columbus City Council Member and board member of Consider Biking; Pete Anderson, who has been involved with this issue since 1995; Kristen Easterday, Harrison West Society President; Ethan Hansen, University Area Commissioner and Dennison Place resident; and Chet Ridenour, SNCA Administrator.

The working group has scheduled a community meeting for Monday January 13, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. in the Goodale Park Shelter House. This will be an opportunity for you to provide feedback to the information presented by both the working group and the city.

Special Community Meeting Regarding Proposed Speed Limit Increase
Monday, January 13, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Goodale Park Shelter House

Further notes pertinent to Harrison West neighbors:

  • The Harrison West Society was asked to join the Shared Streets Working Group and made aware on November 20, 2013 of the city’s recommendation to increase speed limits. Due to time constraints, the society is unable to hold a formal discussion at our regularly scheduled monthly meeting or to vote on a position at this time. The best way for neighbors to voice their opinions is to attend the neighborhood-wide meeting on January 9, 2014, at which the society and other associations hope to provide further detailed information as well as to get feedback from neighbors on the city’s proposal.
  • The next meeting of the Transportation and Pedestrian Commission (T&PC) is Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 5 p.m. in the Beacon Building, 50 West Gay Street, 5th Floor, Conference Room C. While the agenda has not been posted, we believe the commission will be voting on this issue. We encourage neighbors who are unable to attend the neighborhood-wide meeting on January 9 but who are interested in weighing in on this issue to do so in person at the T&PC meeting or to write the Columbus Department of Public Service. (A courtesy copy of your letter to the Harrison West Society would be appreciated.)
  • Although the city recently held public meetings on the topic, its current budget does not include any funding for the Neil Avenue Signal Replacement project. The 2014 capital budget will not be approved until early March. We mention the signal change project because it has been suggested that we consider the speed limit changes and the signal change project—which could change the flow of traffic and our alternative modes of transportation—in more of a comprehensive way.
  • Attached is a letter that the Neighborhood Parking Working Group sent to city officials following the November 20, 2013 meeting.

* photo via 10tv.com: http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2013/09/24/Columbus_Neil_Avenue_Speed_Limit.html

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