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Columbus conversion given green light by City Council

Dylan Goetz • Jun 21, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Columbus Avenue will soon be converted from a one-way eastbound street to a two-way street, from Harbor Drive to Fifth Street.

The project, approved at the Monday, June 18, City Council meeting, requires the city to install, remove and turn traffic signage to accommodate the change, which is suggested to take place the second week of August. The estimated cost of the project is $3,400.

“The (costs) are largely for paint and changing signs around,” Councilman Bob Monetza said. “I think it will be good for the neighborhood.” 

The plan includes adding five new signs, re-striping traffic lanes and adding a stop sign on Columbus at Harbor to stop traffic heading west. The project will not move any existing parking spaces or bike lanes. 

“Cost-wise, it’s minimal, and convenience-wise, its maximal,” Mayor Geri McCaleb said. “I was talking to some folks that live down there and they said it’s inevitable that you see people turning the wrong way on Columbus. There will be less confusion for these people who are visiting the community.”

Council wasn’t interested in going past Fifth Street because of the cost of the project and having to deal with the railroad tracks. McCaleb noted that she didn’t see a need to go past Fifth Street, either. 

“We are taking baby steps,” Councilman Josh Brugger said. “I would like to see it go all the way to Seventh Street, but I’m very glad to see this change. To promote a little bit of (business) growth on the Columbus side is a wonderful way to go.”

Councilman Dennis Scott was worried about not having a traffic light at Columbus Avenue and Harbor Drive, but he said “it’s worth giving a try.” 

Councilman Michael Fritz was the only one to oppose the decision to convert Columbus Avenue to a two-way street from Harbor Drive to Fifth Street.

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