Expanding the community’s network of sidewalks, bike lanes and shared-use paths has been a focus of the City for several years and resident sentiment is consistently supportive of these efforts. The issue emerged as a top priority in a statistically valid survey conducted as part of the 2018 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan process, with 86% of respondents “somewhat” or “very” supportive of the City developing new walking/biking trails and sidewalks.
Following news that the Quarry Trails Metro Park would be developed to Upper Arlington’s immediate west, the City began to look at options for connecting residents with biking and walking access to this exciting outdoor recreation amenity. A 2019 Quarry Trails Connection Study concluded the best option would be comprised of a shared use path on the north side of Lane Avenue that would then extend down the west side of Riverside Drive and connect with the Trabue Road bridge, which the Franklin County Engineer’s Office would expand to include a shared use path connecting directly to the Metro Park.
Throughout the review and planning process, the City’s Engineering Division has been engaging with the community and residents in the immediate area, with the plans adjusted in response to concerns about safety and aesthetics. Additionally, a 2022 OSU studio class focused on engaging UA and surrounding area residents in discussions on finding better ways to provide connections to the new Metro Park. Results of a survey from this process mirrored findings from 2018, with 88.7% of respondents supportive of improved walking and biking connectivity and a strong preference for utilizing Lane Avenue as one of three primary east/west connectors.
The City has also been proactively seeking alternate funding sources to support this project. A State Capital Grant of more than $300,000 has been secured for the Lane Avenue section. Most recently, the City has applied for a new grant opportunity – a Safe Streets and Roads for All federal grant – that if successful would fund 80% of the costs for the Riverside Drive Shared Use Path project.
As plans for this two-phased project proposal continue to take shape, the Engineering Division provided an update to City Council at its October 10 meeting. Staff and representatives from the engineering firm, Burgess and Niple, ran through the history of the project and its significance for both the Upper Arlington community and for advancing multi-modal connectivity in the region. After the presentation, Council beganl consideration of a Resolution of Support. Council is now scheduled to take action on this Resolution at its Monday, November 7 City Council Meeting.
Pending Council’s continued support, the Lane Avenue section of the shared use path will be constructed in 2023. The Riverside Drive section would be constructed in 2024, assuming grant funding has been successfully secured. Moving forward, the City will continue to review additional connection options as the Quarry Trails Metro Park is expanded.
If you wish to share your thoughts on the Quarry Trails Metro Park Multi-Modal Connections projects but cannot attend the November 7 City Council Meeting, please email [email protected] and your comments will be shared with Council in advance of the meeting.