By DENISE GRANT
There’s road work ahead as the City of Findlay plans to create more bicycle and shared-use paths in the spring of 2020.
To make room for bike paths, plans call for widening part of East Main Cross Street, and reducing a portion of Blanchard Street from four lanes to three lanes for motorists.
A shared-use path also will be constructed along Lincoln Street.
These projects have been on the drawing board for a couple of years. Findlay has received about $2.9 million in alternative transportation grants from the Ohio Department of Transportation, money which is expected to cover about 95 percent of the construction costs.
The city also will be working with the Department of Transportation to widen Hancock County 236 between Sandusky Street and Tiffin Avenue, to allow for the addition of a center turn lane to address increased traffic flow on that roadway.
That project will include a 10-foot-wide, shared-use path on the east side of the road, which will extend Hancock County 236 to the east by 15 feet.
The city has received a $1.3 million ODOT grant for the County Road 236 project, and construction also will start in the spring.
Letters advising residents, businesses and organizations that will be most impacted by the construction went in the mail in late June. The city is seeking public comment on the projects, as required by ODOT.
Comments can be made via email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Christina Muryn said city officials will review all comments and work to address questions or concerns. ODOT may also review comments.
Muryn said progress is typically painful, but the goal is to improve the city’s “walk-ability and ride-ability.”
“I think it will be worth it,” she said.
Once complete, most of the city’s popular destinations will be connected, she said.
All of the projects are expected to be completed by the fall of next year. City officials are already making plans to keep traffic moving.
Some of the work is expected to temporarily close private driveways. Property owners will be notified of any planned closures, according to the letters.
In one of the projects, the shared-use Blanchard River Greenway Trail will be extended from the dead end at 1100 E. Main Cross St. to East Sawmill Road. From there, East Main Cross Street will be widened by 5 feet on both the north and the south sides of the road between East Sawmill Road and the parking lot at the corner of Bright Road.
Widening the street will provide two, 5-foot bike lanes in each direction, according to Jeremy Kalb, project manager for the City of Findlay.
On Lincoln Street, a shared-use path will replace the sidewalk on the north side of Lincoln Street, from South Cory Street to Blanchard Street.
On Blanchard Street, the northbound and southbound curb lanes, from Sixth Street to Tiffin Avenue, will be converted into 5-foot-wide bike lanes.
According to Kalb, converting the curb lanes to dedicated bike lanes will require that this part of Blanchard Street be reduced to a three-lane road for motorists. Blanchard Street will then have one northbound lane, one southbound lane and a center turn lane.
“The addition of the shared-used path and bike lanes will provide a safe connection to Tiffin Avenue, Emory Adams Park, downtown Findlay and to the existing bike lanes throughout the city for pedestrians and cyclists,” Kalb said.