A new look for Wilson Bridge Road could extend beyond the streets and sidewalks of the city's northernmost office and commercial area.
"It's about establishing a design for all of Worthington," Chris Hermann told Worthington City Council on Nov. 4.
Hermann, representing the firm, MKSK, was hired to design the Wilson Bridge corridor enhancement project.
Hermann is a Worthington resident, a former member of the Municipal Planning Commission and the consultant working with the city on plans for redevelopment of the United Methodist Children's Home site.
MKSK, a Columbus-based landscape-architecture, urban-design and planning firm, was one of four that bid on the project and was chosen by a panel of city leaders.
Over the next year or so, it will design a new streetscape for East and West Wilson Bridge Road, comprising a package of directional signs that will extend to the central business district, and will come up with a plan for traffic generated by the Shops at Worthington Place and the apartment complexes under construction next to the mall.
Wilson Bridge is the target of city development, as noted in the Wilson Bridge corridor plan that was adopted by the city two years ago.
It is expected to receive new attention from developers as the new interchange at Interstate 270 and U.S. Route 23 is completed. Already, the improvements at Worthington Place are nearly finished, construction of 200-plus apartments is under way, and a new recreation path for the area is in the final planning stages.
The enhancement project calls for a common theme, or brand, for the corridor that will be used by both the city as it continues its projects and eventually by private developers seeking guidance for projects.
Features that might be included in the design are streetlights, banners, signs, sidewalks, bicycle access, parks and seating areas and improvements to driveways and other access points.
The goal is to "enhance the overall feel of the corridor, provide a distinctive identity and have features that can be transferred/incorporated into the adjacent private developments to create a more cohesive appearance," according to a statement of understanding from MKSK.
The directional signs will direct motorists, pedestrians and cyclists at points throughout the city, as recommended by the consultant. They are to be designed to reflect the city's character.
Like the rest of the recommendations, they must be reviewed by the city's Architectural Review Board/Municipal Planning Commission.
The traffic-access portion of the study was tacked on after it became evident that private property owners could not solve the traffic problems on their own. Increased traffic generated by the mall and especially by the new apartments might necessitate additional traffic signals or other changes to traffic patterns.
The intersections of West Wilson Bridge Road with The Shops Drive, Corporate Hill Drive and Old Wilson Bridge Road will be studied, with results presented to the city for possible action.
Part 1 of the study will cost $115,536. Part 2, which will include construction documentation, will cost $13,200 to $16,800, though the figures could change based on the recommendations of Part 1.
A total of $970,000 has been set aside for the projects in the city's capital improvements program for 2014-18.