The city of Urbana hosted a public open house/meeting about the South High Street Corridor Study at Urbana University on Thursday to get input from residents concerning proposed upgrades to South High Street. The engineering and architectural firm Burgess & Niple made recommendations with a goal to create a more inviting space for residents in the corridor and for the adjacent Urbana University campus, with a primary focus on drainage improvements, bicycle and pedestrian improvements and parking improvements.
“We embarked on this study late last fall kind of looking long-term on how we can improve High Street,” said Doug Crabill, community development manager. “High Street is going to need to be resurfaced in the near future, and this seems like a good opportunity to look at other improvements that could potentially be made to the High Street Corridor.”
Crabill added that the study is funded by an Ohio Department of Transportation program that provides money to the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission, which contracted with engineering consultant Burgess & Niple. He said the city was fortunate not to have needed to spend city money on the project.
“The study had some pretty specific purposes and goals,” said Burgess & Niple representative Amy Rosepiler. “We were looking at both pedestrian and bicycle connectivity for residents of the inner city and staff and students. We were also tasked with looking at any safety concerns at the northern and southern ends of the corridor … we also looked at other potential improvements like the parking. Drainage is a big concern that includes where in the corridor you see some ponding, and addressing those concerns with the project. And ultimately what this is going to cost us, so that Urbana can pursue funding options through ODOT.”
Rosepiler said that in addition to bike lanes and sidewalk improvements, there is a thought of putting traffic circles at intersections to help slow traffic.
About 20 residents signed in to the public meeting and reviewed large maps of the proposed improvements with representatives of Burgess & Niple and the city planning office.
Residents may provide feedback to city Engineer Tyler Bumbalough by Jan. 17, after which final recommendations will be posted to the city website, urbanaohio.com. If federal and state grant funding is secured by the city, construction could start as early as 2023.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304