Worthington News

Commission's plan approval

Amendment calls for dense row of trees along new bike path

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A dense row of newly planted trees and shrubs will line the new bike path along West Wilson Bridge Road.

A development plan amendment for landscaping in front of the office buildings, from the Olentangy Parklands to Old West Wilson Bridge Road, was approved unanimously by the Municipal Planning Commission on Nov. 14.

The multiuse path will connect the park on the west with the Shops at Worthington Place. It will be an 8-foot-wide asphalt path from the park to Old West Wilson Bridge Road, where it will become part of the roadway to the rear of the shopping center.

The path will continue from the rear of Kroger, along High Street to the intersection of Wilson Bridge Road and High Street.

The city's plans for the development of Wilson Bridge Road call for the path to eventually connect all of the road, from the parklands to the railroad tracks on East Wilson Bridge Road. The Wilson Bridge corridor plan also includes a pedestrian/bike bridge over High Street.

When asked why the path did not just end at the rear of the shopping center, Worthington parks and recreation director Darren Hurley said it would not be safe for cyclists to make their way through the congestion of the parking lot.

The landscape plan calls for the removal of the row of osage orange trees that currently provide a canopy along the West Wilson Bridge Road sidewalk. The bike path will replace the sidewalk.

Several weeks ago, neighbors publicly objected to the removal of the 90-plus trees.

Many of those same neighbors were in the audience at the MPC meeting but did not object to the new plan, which includes $85,000 worth of trees, shrubs and landscape materials.

New trees include littleleaf linden, Freeman maple, lacebark elm, black gum, American yellowwood and frontier elm. The trees were chosen to screen the parking lots, create a new tree canopy and provide a buffer between the trail and the road.

During the Architectural Review Board portion of the Nov. 14 meeting, a new pole-mounted sign was not approved for Chase Bank, which is at the northwest corner of Wilson Bridge Road and High Street.

The existing sign must be moved 18 feet to the west to make room for the new bike path.

ARB members said the proposed 15-foot sign does not fit with the city's plans for the redevelopment of Wilson Bridge Road.

A new wall-mounted sign was approved, but the ARB requested that the applicant return with plans for a monument sign at the corner.