This summer construction began on a range of improvements to Nationwide Boulevard, which were originally conceived from the 2008 Downtown Columbus Public Realm Enhancement. In that document, Capital Crossroads proposed wider medians with new plantings and paving, new tree and turf plantings in raised concrete curb tree-lawns, new street lighting to match City of Columbus standards, narrowing of traffic lanes, new under-lighting of the Third Street bridge, new concrete and clay brick sidewalk paving and clay brick crosswalks. The work now underway is due for completion by the end of October.
When Nationwide Boulevard was designed in the late 1970s, it was sized to accommodate planned access to State Route 315 which never occurred. The road's wide scale is out of proportion, particularly for pedestrians; and with the Convention Center and Nationwide Arena located there, Nationwide Boulevard us used by millions of visitors. The improvements are designed to make the road more appealing to pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.
During the course of construction, at least one travel lane has been maintained to reduce congestion and to help businesses in the area continue to thrive during the process. Capital Crossroads has communicated with property owners in the area before and throughout the process to help address any concerns that arose and to help them direct any issues to appropriate City officials.
Work began with sidewalks in the area being completely rebuilt. This work has been completed in sections, meaning that the necessary closures were limited to a confined area for a 10-day to two-week period. Alternate pedestrian routes were clearly marked. Once each section completed, new parking meters were then installed. This work was followed by the rebuilding of outside curbs and medians and the installation of new street lights between Front Street and Fourth Street.
Full details regarding the plantings have not been finalized, but the street will be reforested and the beds will have very vibrant, eye-catching plantings.
Funding for this project comes from both the City of Columbus ($2.4 million from the Capital Improvements budget) and a special assessment on adjacent property owners over a 10-year period (totaling $1.9 million). Once complete, Capital Crossroads will maintain the improvements using $200,000 that will be placed in a maintenance fund, per an agreement with the City.