Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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A `Five Points' plan

IT'S commonly accepted that putting in a new interstate ramp virtually guarantees development in an area. Call it the access advantage. So it's no wonder that business and neighborhood leaders of the Five Points Association are concerned about the prospect of losing a ramp.

Over the past decade they have put considerable effort into reviving the Sylvania Avenue business district between roughly Upton and Lewis avenues and beyond, and they have much to brag about. That residential properties in the area have increased in value is in part attributable to their successes.

Association members correctly see their achievement compromised, if not undone, by the Ohio Department of Transportation's targeting of I-75 and I-475 ramps to and from the area.

There are several: Berdan Avenue, Phillips Avenue, Willys Parkway/Jeep Parkway and, Jackman/Central, to accommodate federal requirements for safety and exit proliferation. The changes would be part of a reconstruction and reconfiguration that delivers a promised direct interstate access to the Toledo Hospital complex at Monroe and Oatis - the price of that institution staying where it is.

Some of these accesses are problematic. For example, the Willys accesses to I-75 north and south have traffic entering in the interstate's passing lane - always a problem and ever a danger. In both cases those joining the fast traffic don't have a good view of what's gaining on them. However, the exits from the interstate to Willys work just fine.

Also, the I-475 exit to Jackman Road comes just as traffic from I-75 joins I-475. To get off there requires motorists who got on I-475 at its I-75 split to quickly cross multiple lanes to exit, always a dicey proposition.

The Phillips ramps, used by northbound interstate travelers for their ease in merging with regular traffic, are nearly a mile from the center of Five Points. Were it the only ramp left open, the neighborhood would fade.

ODOT should not be so eager to satisfy the Federal Highway Administration that it ignores the potential harm to the Five Points neighborhood, one of six “urban villages” identified in the city's 2020 plan.

ODOT must do its reconfiguring in a way that doesn't make Five Points a burden to reach. Surely its engineers can find a way.

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