Columbus motorists who regularly drive 13th Street home from work may be in for a surprise Thursday.
The road no longer is a four-lane between 13th Avenue and Cherokee Avenue, the portion passing in front of the Piggly-Wiggly grocery store and the Red Lobster restaurant.
On Thursday the street there became three lanes with a center turn lane and bike lanes on either side.
Drivers accustomed to speeding through in a passing lane beware: No passing lane remains. Those traveling from downtown toward Lakebottom Park will go from two eastbound lanes to one just past 13th Avenue.
“It’s amazing how steadily and smoothly traffic has been flowing,” said Anne King of the nonprofit MidTown Inc. The street changes are part of the organization’s “minimum grid” project, she said.
She elaborated in a followup email:
“’Minimum Grid, Maximum Impact’ is MidTown, Inc.’s 2015 Knight Cities Challenge award-winning project.... The resulting ‘Public Space and Mobility Plan’ outlines a comprehensive network that can better connect people and places in the Core Community, serving ALL citizens and visitors who walk, ride bikes, use transit or drive.... New bike lanes have been painted on Delauney Avenue, 14th Avenue, 13th Avenue and Linwood Boulevard.”
Here is her overview of the project:
- A street conversion of 13th Street, 13th Avenue, and Linwood Boulevard will connect “favorite places” such as Lakebottom Park and the Riverwalk, and join the Dragonfly Trail at 10th Avenue.
- The project adds 1.6 miles of on-street bike lanes, expanding Columbus’ on-street bike network by 67 percent from 2.36 miles to almost 4 miles.
- The conversion to three lanes is safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. The city installed two pairs of flashing beacons at the Village On 13th crosswalks.
- The city is planting canopy trees through the area to add shade, making it more attractive and inviting.
- Art installations complementing the demonstration project will be completed for Artbeat 2017 on April 1.