Columbus and other communities in Franklin County and beyond would see greater economic activity while at the same time reducing anticipated infrastructure costs through a new growth and mobility vision. Insight2050 Corridor Concepts was unveiled April 30 by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) and project co-chairs Shannon Hardin and Yaromir Steiner (Columbus City Council president and ULI Columbus chair, respectively).
By encouraging growth in targeted corridors that already move lots of people and goods, the region can more-efficiently and cost-effectively accommodate up to a million additional residents in the next 30 years, the study showed.
For nearly two years, the study looked at current conditions and future scenarios for five major business, residential, and transportation corridors radiating out from downtown Columbus, through the city and suburbs, and across the county. Chosen for their current significance and potential for future growth and enhanced mobility in the coming decades, the corridors are:
- East Main Street from Downtown to Route 256 in Reynoldsburg.
- Downtown along Cleveland Avenue north through Westerville to just across the Delaware County line at Polaris Parkway.
- Downtown to Routes 33/161 in Dublin at Post Road, including Bethel, Sawmill, and Olentangy River roads.
- Downtown to Rickenbacker International Airport, including Parsons Avenue and Alum Creek Drive.
- Downtown along West Broad Street to Norton Road.
The corridors are expected to see more jobs, plus increases in property value and tax revenue, and ideally would develop as mixed-income neighborhoods. The potential benefits of the study, however, go far beyond numbers and efficiencies. The focus on these corridors will help build better communities.
More-intensive development, with commercial and residential blended together, will invite better and more-frequent transportation options, including high-capacity transit – serving not only the denser areas along transit routes, but also the less-dense neighborhoods nearby.
When commercial and business areas mix with residential in nodes along the corridors, jobs and homes can be closer together. The nodes that accommodate that mix can also accommodate multiple mobility modes – and this all can happen while easing the expense of new infrastructure.
The Corridor Concepts study – like insight2050 – is data-driven and uses the information to envision growth scenarios. In this case, there are two scenarios: Current Trajectory and Focused Corridor Concept. The first shows how growth is likely to occur based on current trends. But the Focused Corridor Concept shows how Franklin County is likely to develop if communities embrace the idea of encouraging more-intensive development along the corridors and in the nodes.
While the study itself looks at these five major corridors, the lessons can apply throughout the region. In non-corridor areas, communities can look to the findings from the study as models for a local strategy. To learn more, go to the Corridor Concepts web page.