The city of Urbana received notice from the Ohio Department of Transportation that the city has been awarded grants totaling $3,098,163 to improve South High Street between Miami Street and Lewis B. Moore Drive. The grants include $1,348,163 through the Small City Program, $750,000 through the Transportation Alternatives Program and $1,000,000 through the Safety Program.
These grants require local cash matches of either 5% or 10%, depending on the program. In addition, the city needs an additional grant of approximately $960,000 for stormwater infrastructure on South High Street through the Ohio Public Works Commission in 2021.
The total estimated construction cost to improve South High Street is $4,320,000, and approximately 90% of the total construction cost is anticipated to be paid by state and federal grants.
In early 2019, a feasibility study to improve South High Street was completed at no cost to the city through the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission and its planning partner Springfield-Clark County Transportation Coordinating Committee. This study sought to identify improvements that would provide pedestrian and bicycle connectivity for neighborhood residents and Urbana University staff and students.
This study identified other potential improvements within the corridor, including on-street parking, drainage upgrades and traffic calming. A public meeting for residents along the corridor was held at Urbana University in January, and public comments about the project were accepted before, during and after the meeting.
Earlier this summer, city Engineer Tyler Bumbalough, Community Development Manager Doug Crabill and Carl Brown, UU’s executive director of Campus Services, Real Estate, and Planning, gave a presentation about the South High Street project to ODOT representatives in Columbus, outlining project benefits for the overall neighborhood and for Urbana University.
Improvements for cyclists, pedestrians
The presentation focused on the benefit of linking this corridor together through bicycle and pedestrian improvements. With downtown Urbana on the northern end of the corridor, Urbana University toward the middle of the corridor, and the Champaign County Community Center on the southern end of the corridor, South High Street links residents to city and county services, shopping, dining and employment.
The project will reconstruct and replace existing sidewalks within the corridor and build sidewalks where none now exist on South High Street. Dedicated bike lanes will be constructed on both sides of the roadway between College Street and Lewis B. Moore Drive (state Route 55). Due to right-of-way constraints, the installation of shared lane markings or sharrows are planned from Miami Street to College Street instead of dedicated bike lanes. A stormwater system, including piping, catch basins and curbing, will be constructed along South High Street. In addition, the roadway will be resurfaced from end to end and off-street parking areas will be constructed as part of the roadway to replace existing gravel and paved parking areas along the roadway.
Lastly, traffic calming measures such as curb extensions (“bulb-outs”), speed humps and traffic circles are proposed within the corridor.
Construction is not anticipated until 2023. In the interim, the city will be working in cooperation with ODOT to move the project toward construction. Long-term, the city would like to study other corridors within the city, including West Light Street and Bloomfield Avenue, for similar projects.
Info from the city of Urbana.