Residents want wider and safer sidewalks and bike lanes along South Limestone Street, according to initial public comments provided to a local transportation planning agency.
Last month, about 40 residents attended a public meeting to talk about what they would like to see along the corridor, which sees about 20,000 cars per day and also serves as one of the main entrances to Springfield from Interstate 70.
Several suggestions included improving sidewalks and moving them further away from the roadway, as well as adding bike lanes and bike paths. Respondents also want to see better lighting and signage, reduced speeding and better access to businesses on South Limestone Street.
“We got a number of good comments to start with and we’re hoping we’ll be able to take those back and start some corridor visions and corridor plans,” TCC Director Scott Schmid said.
Once the survey is complete, it will be packaged for a stakeholder group to begin formulating a plan, which could be presented to TCC members in September or October, Schmid said. After the ideas are finished, the agency will ask for more public comments.
“We want people to come to us and tell us what they want,” Schmid said. “We got a lot of good comments on how people move, and it’s not all vehicles.”
The city of Springfield can apply for federal and state grants to pay for projects with help from the TCC and others, TCC member and Clark County Engineer Johnathan Burr said.
“It’s something that we all agree is definitely needed so hopefully we can work together to make it come to fruition,” TCC member and New Carlisle Council Member Lowell McGlothin said.
The intersections at Leffel Lane and John Street on South Limestone Street are both listed as top-5 high hazard areas for drivers, Schmid said, which would make them eligible for safety improvement funding.
Congestion mitigation and air quality money can also be used to reduce speeding or install bike lanes, he said. CMAQ projects are also typically difficult to find, he said.
“We’re hoping we can package together a whole host of ideas that can be attractive, not just to us but outside sources of funding as well,” Schmid said.
Local business leaders have also recently suggested creating a theme for the interchange, such as at I-70 and Ohio 72 that could draw retail, similar to Austin Landing in Springboro. They also suggested as a roundabout at East John Street to slow traffic leading into the more residential section of the road and downtown.
Several comments fell outside of transportation issues, Schmid said, such as housing maintenance and more grocery options.
“It’s not that they weren’t good comments, it’s how can we address it?” Schmid said. “We want to make the public infrastructure attractive enough to attract private investment. That’s a theory.”
The improvements are needed, especially with the corridor serving as the gateway in Springfield, City Commissioner and TCC member Joyce Chilton said.
“I would like to see South Limestone look the same as North Limestone,” Chilton said.
The whole community agrees it needs to be improved, City Commissioner and TCC member Karen Duncan said.
“There are a lot of problems down there that are not necessarily solvable by government entities, things that need to be more on the private sector side with business that need to take responsibility for their properties and step them up a few notches,” Duncan said. “Overall, I think the plan is a good one and we need to move forward with it and I think we will.”