Hilliard’s future connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists is the focus of a trail study along Cemetery Road, over Interstate 270.
More than 45,000 vehicles access Cemetery Road in this area daily, making it Hilliard’s busiest intersection. The city is seeking public input on four alternative routes for a separated shared-use path crossing the interstate, which would improve connectivity and promote recreation, safety and multi-modal transportation.
All four path options involve building a pedestrian bridge over the interstate. The various alternatives are estimated to cost between $3.8 million and $6.2 million.
Currently, no safe options exist for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the freeway on Cemetery Road. Not all people own a car, can drive a car or want to drive for transportation, and ped-bike transportation is environmentally beneficial.
So, plans for a safe crossing as part of the envisioned redevelopment of Cemetery Road to create a more walkable environment means good news for ped-bike users. (It also includes converting the 4- to 5-foot sidewalk into a wider shared-use path.)
The Mill Run area is prime for redevelopment, too. Creating a safe pedestrian/bicycle connection across I-270 will help redevelop these existing auto-centric corridors. Plus, it paves the way for connectivity to the future TruePointe mixed-use development on Trueman Boulevard.
The goal is to make this area of Hilliard an accessible destination by connecting our existing trail network from Britton Parkway to Trueman Boulevard. The TruePointe project will include 350 residential units, a hotel, 45,000 square feet of retail space and more than 300,000 square feet of office space. Imagine shopping or going out to eat, then walking or biking home or back to work. It’s a real possibility with these new developments!
The Davidson Road bridge that crosses the interstate farther north also provides an east-west connection. That crossing is inconvenient for people living or working along Cemetery Road, including several of the city’s older neighborhoods. The project would not preclude potential future interchange improvements on Cemetery Road or widening of the existing sidewalk across I-270 at Davidson Road.
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The city is exploring federal funding for this project and plans to apply for several multi-million dollar grants this year to help pay for this important connection. Thanks to the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the federal government is investing heavily in projects and programs that prioritize safety, connected ped-bike networks, equity and the environment. The Cemetery Road improvements align with federal, state, regional and local priorities.
The city hopes to select a recommended alternative to include with grant applications based on feedback from the public survey and an ongoing feasibility study. The city also will evaluate criteria, such as directness of route, safety, traffic management and environmental factors when making the final decision.
If the city does not receive outside funding through grants, the project is unlikely to move forward.
The city is accepting feedback through Aug. 5 at talk2us.hilliardohio.gov. Those who live, work or travel in the city of Hilliard are encouraged to provide comments.
Letty Schamp is Hilliard’s city director of transportation and mobility.