An Oct. 5 special meeting of the Clintonville Area Commission to hear a presentation on an assortment of possible improvements for North Broadway has been postponed.

An Oct. 5 special meeting of the Clintonville Area Commission to hear a presentation on an assortment of possible improvements for North Broadway has been postponed.

At least one aspect of the proposed changes has become the source of considerable controversy in the neighborhood although since this is Clintonville that's perhaps more than a little redundant.

The widening of East North Broadway at North High Street to provide a left-turn lane for westbound traffic has drawn vehement opposition from residents of the historic street, while people living nearby welcome the project as a means of preventing motorists from cutting through their residential areas to avoid the intersection.

CAC chairman John DeFourny initially sent out an e-mail Sept. 16 to announce the special session on Oct. 5 at which Susan DeLay, manager of capital improvement programs for the city, was to have given a talk on the Complete Street Plan for North Broadway.

Last week, DeFourny said that the meeting, which was to have taken place at the conclusion of the regular zoning and variance committee session in Clinton Heights Lutheran Church, had been canceled due to a scheduling conflict on the part of DeLay. He said that she had asked to reschedule for Oct. 19 and that Patricia A. Austin, administrator of the Division of Planning and Operations in the Public Service Department, would make the presentation.

Subsequently, DeFourny sent out an e-mail about the postponement, stating, "We are working with Ms. DeLay and city staff to coordinate another date/ time convenient for Ms. DeLay, city staff and our community to hear this presentation at another special meeting. More details will follow when they have again been confirmed."

"I think they've got some details to add around the intersection of Broadway and High," DeFourny said.

The Complete Street Plan for North Broadway was approved by a divided area commission in August 2009.

Along with the intersection widening, which critics say cannot be accomplished without taking private property and will inevitably lead to the widening of the entire stretch of East North Broadway from North High to Indianola Avenue, the plan called for improvements to make the street safer and more accommodating to pedestrians and bicyclists.

In the plan, the long-term solution identified for problems at the intersection of North High Street and North Broadway was a roundabout.

In May, North Broadway Street Association president Carole W. Tomko sent a letter to Mayor Michael B. Coleman demanding that he halt planning for the intersection on the basis that the funds being used for that purpose were being spent in a "potentially unlawful" manner.

City officials refuted that claim.

With the deadline for going ahead with the planned intersection widening approaching, DeFourny speculated that city officials want to brief residents before instituting the project.

Last week, Tomko said that she and another member of the North Broadway Street Association had a meeting in April with Public Service Director Mark Kelsey and Boyce Safford III, development director. During that meeting, Tomko said, the city administrators assured her that once an analysis of the Complete Street proposals had been conducted the community would have a chance for further review to "make sure everybody is on board."

"I am presuming that's what this is about," Tomko said. "We've seen people surveying down on the intersection and whatnot."

There's a lot that's worthwhile in the proposed Complete Street approach, the association president added, but one thing that's not liked at all.

"The only thing that doesn't sit well with the North Broadway Street Association is the so-called interim solution of the widening of North Broadway to add a turn lane," Tomko said. "Why would you spend $1 million now to turn around and dig it up later? That makes no sense. We fundamentally don't believe a left turn lane can be installed without taking private property, and we object to that.

"I think there's a lot to like about the plan," Tomko added. "The fact is Clintonville has been left out. When you look around Columbus, at the improvements along Gay Street, in the Short North, downtown, Morse Road, the list goes on and on of the areas of town that have instituted some of the things we're looking at in terms of bicycle friendly, pedestrian friendly elements. I think it's Clintonville's turn."

"I'll wait to see what their presentation is going to be about before I make any decisions myself," DeFourny said.

For her part, Tomko said that she would attend the Complete Street presentation from the city, whenever it's scheduled, with an open mind.

"I'm going to take the city at their word and that they're operating in good faith and that they're going to review all the elements and come back for something for the community to review," Tomko said. "I'm really viewing this October meeting as more of a revelation of their discovery. There really is nothing to be upset about unless they failed to keep up their commitment."

Much might be riding on what comes out of the city's plans for the intersection, according to CAC chairman DeFourny, a real estate broker.

"I've had a lot of inquiries of property owners about the intersection plan ...," DeFourny said. "You've got property owners to the north and south on High Street who have been inquiring.

"You've got developer interest, lots of developer interest ... because North Broadway and High is still one of the more desirable redevelopment sites inside of (Interstate) 270."

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