Comprehensive Planning

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1) The University District Plan written in 2010 reflects the City of Columbus’ desire to understand that rapid changes affecting the district and continue to be prepared for the unique problems this incredibly diverse area poses. Because so much of the current land use is residential and institutional, the plan focuses on preserving the layout and architecture of existing neighborhoods and limiting the types of commercial development that can occur. High density development is preferred in the plan along High Street until Lane Avenue, and then on Lane Avenue until the Olentangy River. Diversity in transit is a large emphasis, as the plan states people should be able to drive, bike, walk, or take public transit to where they need to go in the University District. A balance of mixed-use buildings in the different areas of the district is desired, as this limits the impact of parking and intrusion into natural resources. In general, the plan recognizes the current boom of development in the district and looks to limit it and its impact on the neighborhoods to preserve the design and keep transit equitable.

2) I think the University District’s Land Use Plan addresses the existence of a massive institution and the externalities of it in a very constructive way. Given that so many students live here and don’t have cars, the encouragement of mixed use zones increases the ease of living for students whose main modes of transportation tend to be walking and biking.

Additionally, the plan’s goal of transitioning areas so that the highest density areas are located near the university and density decreases with distance seems to be a good way to promote the maintenance of a neighborhood feel for families who live in the University District but are unaffiliated with the university.

I also admire the plan’s goals both to preserve as many buildings as possible, preserve open space, and connect natural resources and parks and recreation facilities. I believe that these aspects create a sense of continuity in a neighborhood that’s constantly changing as the university grows and encourage sustainability and outdoor enjoyment. I think the introduction of more open space and green space would significantly improve the feel of the University District and the quality of life for everyone who lives here.

3) According to my observation , most of the planning goals have been achieved, while others still remain to be improved. Firstly, I think planners did a good job incorporating various types of buildings in the neighborhood, also in the mix of land uses near the campus. There are many restaurants, retail shops, bookstores, cinemas and libraries scattered around the OSU campus. On the other hand, when you go a little further away, you can find quiet neighborhoods layed out in an orderly manner. Also, I appreciate that public art has been merged into the design, such as the delicate arches set up in the Short North area. However, I think it’s necessary to add more green spaces along with the sidewalk and limit the available parking space. This would improve the sustainability of the University District.

4) The land use plan for the University District effectively addresses any concerns for the development of the area, employing tactics like floor area ratio and height restrictions to create a dense urban feel in the areas immediately surrounding campus that naturally radiates outward to quieter and calmer suburban areas.

5) One suggestion is parking. It may be better to get rid of minimum parking spaces, especially for commercial buildings but also for other types of buildings. Parking spaces take up space and encourage driving which can discourage pedestrian traffic; it is better for traffic and the environment if more people walked rather than drove. Also, some businesses may not need or want parking spaces so forcing parking onto them does not seem fair. It would also be beneficial to emphasize bike lanes when talking about ‘bike facilities’ because shared lanes where there is just a painted bike on the road doesn’t really encourage biking.

 

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