Ohio State University planning students are helping Upper Arlington officials decide how the city should connect to Metropolitan Quarry Trails Park.
A survey by students from OSU’s Knowlton School of City Planning recently polled 400 residents in and around Upper Arlington to help determine where a shared-use path could be built to connect Upper Arlington to the new park in 226 acres.
The survey found that 37% of respondents favored a connection to the park from Lane Avenue, and a further 37% favored the construction of a path between Cambridge Boulevard and the park.
Thirty percent of respondents said the town should be connected to the park by a path from Fishinger Road.
“Seventy-eight percent of respondents support that the City of Upper Arlington is investing in improving infrastructure to better connect to the park,” said Alejandro Duque, one of seven OSU students studying the potential project.
The survey asked if Upper Arlington’s improved connectivity with Quarry Trails Metro Park “is a benefit to Upper Arlington”, and 303 of the 346 people (87.6%) who responded said “yes”.
“The park is expecting over a million (visitors) by the end of 2022,” Duque said. “Upper Arlington must be prepared to welcome these visitors, but also provide Upper Arlington residents with priority access via walking or biking trails to this park.”
The first part of Quarry Trails Metro Park opened in December. The park will open in phases northeast of the Trabue and Dublin roads and west of the Scioto River and Upper Arlington, and it will extend as far north as Griggs Reservoir Park Dam and north from Trabue Road.
The survey results come after Upper Arlington officials said last July that they were exploring the potential construction of an 1,800-foot shared-use path on the north side of Lane Avenue from Asbury Drive to Riverside Drive.
No timeline has been set to decide if or when the path will be built or where it will be located.
Deputy City Manager Jackie Thiel said Upper Arlington will do more community outreach and research before determining whether a project will go ahead.
“So the timeline continues this year with our outreach to community engagement, going back to these (neighborhood) groups with our findings, and then hopefully later this year deciding with these members where we are. “, she said. “Then we can update our (capital improvement plan) this fall with what our update would be.
“Hopefully we will consider construction within the next couple of years.”
When discussing the potential project last July, Thiel noted that the city’s 2018 comprehensive study of the Parks and Recreation Department found that residents ranked bicycling and walking facilities “as a top priority. in our community”.
At that time, the cost of the shared-use path was estimated at $430,500, but $300,000 of that amount would be offset by a state grant.
However, the OSU survey found that of the 20% of respondents who did not support connecting the city to the park, most worried that a path would bring more criminals through their neighborhoods.
“There are people who think it would be a disadvantage,” Duque said.
Despite these concerns, Luke Hutchinson, a student at OSU Knowlton’s school of urban planning, said he looked at a study that assessed 300 US cities that found that almost every time crime increased with the introduction of a park in a neighborhood, the park was more urban with no green space.
“Quarry Trails Metro Park is entirely green space,” Hutchinson said. “On the contrary, all the places that have seen a drop in crime, that’s where there has been an introduction of green spaces.”
The comments followed a Feb. 7 statement to Upper Arlington City Council by Police Chief Steve Farmer, who was asked if the addition of sidewalks or multi-use paths had led to an increase in crime in the area. town.
“I can’t speak definitively, but I don’t know of any local data that would suggest that,” Farmer said. “There is no evidence of a correlation between the two in Upper Arlington.”
Community Development Director Chad Gibson called Quarry Trails Metro Park “an incredible start to what is going to be a regional draw,” and said a connection to the park would serve Upper Arlington residents.
“It’s an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where we have this truly sky-dropping subway park on our western border,” he said.