Monday, January 25, 2010

West Shoreway project gets a boost from Ohio lawmakers -

West Shoreway project gets a boost from Ohio lawmakers | Metro - -

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By Aaron Marshall, The Plain Dealer

January 25, 2010, 6:00AM
west-shoreway.jpgThomas Ondrey, The Plain DealerChanges proposed for the West Shoreway would make it friendlier for pedestrians. Legislation that would drop the speed limit from 50 mph to 35 mph, a key part of the plan, passed the Ohio House last week. In this picture, westbound traffic heads toward Lakewood as a pedestrian hustles by.COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A long-awaited $60 million road project designed to transform the fast lanes of the West Shoreway into a tree-lined boulevard got a key assist from state lawmakers last week.
Rep. Michael Skindell, a Lakewood Democrat, got language slipped into an unrelated bill that would drop the speed limit on a stretch of the West Shoreway, from 50 mph to 35. The bill passed the Ohio House Wednesday and now moves to the Senate.
However, drivers aren't likely to see the speed limit drop until about 2013, no matter when state lawmakers end up getting the provision enacted.....
...... The project has been divided into two phases, with work to begin this summer on rebuilding a crumbling pedestrian tunnel running under the roadway to Edgewater Park. Construction of a bike trail linking with an existing trail in Edgewater Park to form a continuous path is also planned for the first phase of the project as well as the new West 73rd intersection.
The state has pledged federal money totaling almost $50 million for the project, which covers the first portion of construction, with about $10 million leftover for the second phase, which should cost about $20 million.
The second phase is the centerpiece of the project and involves ripping out the concrete dividers on the West Shoreway and replacing them with a tree-lined, landscaped median.
Councilman Zone said he's worried the city will struggle to find the $10 million or more needed to finish the project once the federal money is gone......
..... Skindell said he is looking for a vehicle to get a similar amendment placed in the Senate in case the measure passed by the House ends up bogging down. He said he expects the Senate's Republican leadership to get on board with the idea because the project is so strongly backed by ODOT and city officials.
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