West Side News

Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds

Preliminary engineering study of Third planned

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A car drives across South Third Street in German Village. OHM Advisors has released an engineering study showing several detailed options that would slow traffic and improve safety, walkability and aesthetics. German Village was among several communities to get a slice of $6.9 million in city Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds, set aside for central city areas.

South Third Street will go undergo a much closer inspection this year as the city of Columbus prepares to begin a preliminary engineering study of the commercial corridor.

The $500,000 study will look at several amenities, including sidewalks, curbs, streets and lights and what improvements are necessary to maintain, enhance or improve them.

The study also will consider adding rain gardens, landscaping, curb extensions and other traffic-calming features, decorative crosswalks and other pedestrian enhancements, bike lanes and bike facilities, and mast-arm traffic signals.

German Village was among several communities to get a slice of $6.9 million in city Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds, set aside for central city areas.

The preliminary engineering study would precede a detailed look at specific improvements of the roadway between East Livingston and Reinhard avenues.

Shiloh Todorov, director of the German Village Society, said local officials believe the improvements are long overdue for a historic village that is a huge draw for outside visitors.

"We are asking for more than a baseline improvement," Todorov said.

"There has been benign, but certainly neglect over the years," she said.

"And it's time for us to make some of these improvements and get our due from the tax money."

Susan DeLay, manager of the capital improvements program for the Columbus Department of Development, said engineers should begin the work this fall.

The entire study will take about a year to complete.

It is expected to precede a detailed engineering study, which would lay out a specific plan for improvement.

"Significant attention will be given to the historic feel of the street and every effort will be made to preserve and enhance that with appropriate features," DeLay said.

"We will encourage interaction with the community on the desired features tempered by what is affordable as costs per item will be estimated," she said.

Another aspect of the study will involve an assessment of all underground and overhead utilities.

German Village officials for years have been trying to beautify and improve the functionality of Third Street for several years.

In 2011, the city paid a professional planning firm $150,000 for big-picture improvements, which results in a multi-million dollar wish list for the street.

That detailed engineering phase would take about a year to complete, not including the time for right-of-way acquisition and relocation of utilities.

Those two can add about 12 to 18 months more before construction can start, DeLay said.