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614-583-5000 3600 Tremont Rd

Transforming the City’s Sidewalk Network

As much of Upper Arlington was originally developed, little thought was given to accommodating pedestrians and cyclists on our public streets – in part for aesthetic reasons, but also, with fewer cars on the road, safety concerns were minimal. Fast forward to the modern day, and residents have increasingly expressed their desire for safe and accessible connections within their neighborhoods and to nearby parks, schools, and commercial areas.

Since the early 2000s, City leaders recognized this shift and began exploring how best to retrofit the community with sidewalks and multi-use paths. Over time, these efforts have cumulatively had a positive impact on our community, and with more connections imminent, UA is rapidly transforming into the welcoming, walkable/bikeable community we all want it to be.

A 2014 City Council policy directed the Administration to bring to Council options for adding new sidewalks along one side of City arterials and collectors when they were being reconstructed. Over the years, this policy has resulted in new sidewalks or multi-use paths along key streets, such as Kenny Road, Tremont Road, North Star Road, and the eastern portion of Fishinger Road. Once the current construction taking place on Fishinger from Five Points to Riverside Drive is complete, the entirety of this busy arterial will safely provide for pedestrians and bicyclists.

In 2022 the City created a Sidewalk Installation Policy. This policy incorporates standards as Upper Arlington expands connectivity to provide the community with the consistency of expectations for new sidewalks. To enhance safety, sidewalks will be separated from the roadway. This increases pedestrian safety and comfort by providing additional clearance from vehicular traffic. An appropriate buffer can also create a usable and sustainable tree lawn. Street trees further enhance pedestrian safety and comfort by providing a physical barrier, traffic calming effect, roadway noise suppression, and relief from extreme heat. 

Sidewalk Petition Policy

As is typical in most communities, responsibility for the installation and maintenance of sidewalks within neighborhoods typically falls to the home builder or homeowner. The City has had a Sidewalk Petition program for many years – a resident-initiated process that can trigger the installation of sidewalks along sections of streets at resident expense once a minimum threshold of property owners have signed in favor of the petition.

To help enhance this program and provide an incentive for residents to undertake what can be a daunting process, City Council adopted a Sidewalk Incentive Policy in 2015 (that was subsequently updated in 2019) that annually sets aside City funds to help with the costs for new sidewalks. Under the policy and subject to funding availability, a sidewalk petition with 60% support would receive a City contribution of 50% of the costs.

Since the addition of this incentive, sections of Milden, Woodbridge, Elmwood, Baldridge, Stanford, and most recently, Suffolk roads have successfully completed the petition process.

Sidewalk Connections Project

Approved by Council in 2017, this initiative focused on expanded connectivity in areas prioritized for new sidewalks by the Safe Routes to School Travel Plan. This resulted in new sidewalks along one side of the street for sections of Canterbury Road, Cambridge Boulevard, Coach Road, Middlesex Road and Tremont Road south of Lane Avenue.

Sidewalk Maintenance Program

Since 2018, the City has also placed increased focus on maintaining the sidewalks that are already here through its annual Sidewalk Maintenance Program. The community is divided into five inspection zones, with one zone addressed per year. Through this program, all sidewalks are inspected and for sections that need repair or replacement – and that don’t fall to the City’s responsibility due to damage from street trees or utility access points – property owners are given the option to take advantage of the City’s maintenance contract, which typically results in a reduced cost to them, or to have the work done directly.

Since the entire City has been inspected in the last five years, as the City begins the second round of inspections in 2023, it is anticipated that the work needed will be reduced.

Combined, the City’s efforts to expand our sidewalk network are impressive, with more than 13 miles of new side­walks and shared-use paths installed in UA since 2014. With the impending addition of a shared-use path on Lane Avenue (to be constructed this year) that will feed into a future shared-use path running south on Riverside Drive and ultimately connecting with the new Quarry Trails Metro Park, we are not only improving within our community, we are providing vital connections across the region.

If you want to know more about the City’s Sidewalk Petition Policy and how to initiate a petition, please contact our Engineering Division, at 614-583-5360.

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