Thanks to assistance from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Worthington leaders said they would work to improve accessibility for bicycles and pedestrians and infrastructure on streets throughout the city.

Worthington officials applied for a technical-assistance grant from MORPC this summer, and the city was one of four municipalities chosen.

According to service and engineering director Dan Whited, the city project known as the Complete Streets Policy would provide better oversight of infrastructure improvements and projects for bicycle and pedestrian access.

"As we continue to modify, rehabilitate and improve our infrastructure, when there's an opportunity to make improvements with bike and pedestrian accommodations, we want to make sure we recognize the appropriate way to do that and provide the best routes (and) safest routes -- and do that in a way that preserves our ability to provide all the other services we need to provide to the community," Whited said. "None of us are really experts on that. There are really very few that are experts on it. But (MORPC's help) gives us a toolbox to be able to select and apply what's most appropriate to different areas."

Parks and recreation director Darren Hurley said he would provide input on the project from the perspective of the city's bicycle and pedestrian advisory board, on which he serves as the staff representative.

Although he downplayed his involvement and noted Whited's department would make the decision on the project, Hurley hopes to keep bicyclists and pedestrians on the minds of those involved, he said.

"I think it's a way, from a bike and pedestrian perspective, to ensure consistency so that regardless of budget, timeline or part of town, that every street is being looked at through a bike and pedestrian lense," he said.

The MORPC assistance will come in the form of staff time.

MORPC will hire consultants experienced in the type of streets project Worthington is undertaking, Whited said. Unlike a similar grant in Westerville, Worthington will not be required to match staff time, he said.

Whited said an upcoming meeting with MORPC staff members would determine exactly how much assistance would be provided. He said he understands discussions about plans and policy often result in toothless government documents, but he doesn't believe this project will be one.

"We hope and intend not to do that," Whited said. "It allows us to create guidance -- a toolbox -- for when we have an opportunity to do things."

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