The city of Columbus, Ohio had recently restored 160 acres of wetlands and bird habitat on a reclaimed urban brownfield to create the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. However, access to the park was limited to only two points on the park’s southern and western borders. The four sets of railroad tracks, operated by CSX and Norfolk Southern and running north to south along the eastern side of the park, presented an additional barrier. With no other legal access to the park, the city sought a solution that would provide both access and safety to users of the park.
PRIME AE was responsible for preparing the preliminary engineering study to develop and evaluate options for a bikeway/pedestrian connector that would provide safe passage across the railroad tracks. The evaluation of each scenario considered the existing conditions and needs of the area, as well as future improvements to the park and surrounding projects in the city.
An initial concept included eight alternate alignments for public stakeholders to review and provide feedback. Based on feedback, the city then narrowed the number of options to six, which included five grade-separated crossings and one at-grade crossing. These scenarios focused on connecting the park to surrounding neighborhoods, and downtown, encouraging visitors to enjoy and partake in the newly restored green space.