Zoo bids to purchase Amherst Drive


As a solution for residents’ concerns about large trucks rumbling down Amherst Drive, Toledo Zoo officials pitched twin proposals Monday night to purchase the street from the city and build either one or two gates on the street.

Executive director Anne Baker said the proposal would stop garbage trucks and other service trucks from traveling through the neighborhood to get to the zoo because they could turn right from Anthony Wayne Trail onto Amherst, which is not currently allowed.

Zoo officials said they were told by the city’s transportation division they needed at least one gate to make sure Amherst does not became a main thoroughfare if zoo trucks become allowed to make the right-hand turn.

Under the first proposal, the zoo would build two eight-feet tall gates – one near Dartmouth Drive by the zoo’s Amherst gate and the other on the north end of Amherst by the the Trail. The public could travel north on Amherst, stopping for about six seconds at each sensor-activated gate, to get to the Trail.

But under the second proposal, the public would no longer be allowed access to the Trail from Amherst. The new gate at the north end of Amherst would be built that would only be open to zoo vehicles.

Before any construction begins, the proposal will have to go before the city plan commission, followed by city council review.

Officials said their goal was for the project’s construction to start in 2013.

“It’s not like somebody is going to get out of bed and decide this is what we’re going to do,” said Toledo City Councilman D. Michael Collins, whose district includes the zoo. “It’s not that simple. That’s why it takes so long.”

He said building two gates seemed like the best choice between the two proposals.