News and Tribune

September 22, 2013

Gahan ‘generally supportive’ of two-way streets in downtown New Albany

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — Mayor Jeff Gahan said the Ohio River Bridges Project should be taken into account before switching downtown streets to two-way traffic, and added a study would paint a clearer picture of what the city needs to do to usher in such a change.

“I’m generally supportive of more two-way traffic than we have now,” Gahan said. “We just need to have more definite information and more factual information before we make sweeping changes.”

His comments came Friday, one day after the New Albany City Council approved on initial ballots chipping-in half the cost of a $60,000 downtown traffic study. The appropriation, sponsored by Councilman Greg Phipps, was approved, while a separate resolution offered by Councilman John Gonder calling for the immediate conversion of some downtown streets to two-way traffic was turned down.

Regardless of the council’s actions, the administration and the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety have the final say on the use of the city’s streets.

Gahan said the city needs some data and information to back up a conversion of streets like Spring, Elm and Market to two-way traffic.

The last study performed on downtown was administered in 2007, and it was considered limited in scope in terms of providing guidance on how to convert streets to two-way use.

Gahan said the council is on the right track by approving funding for a new study on first and second ballots. The final reading will likely be taken on the appropriation Oct. 7.

“I’ve had numerous discussions over the past year with [Phipps] and [Gonder] and some of the other council members,” Gahan said. “I think it’s worthy of the study and as soon as the appropriation has been approved, we’ll get started on it right away.”

City officials have estimated it could take a year to finalize the study.



HUMAN RIGHTS OPEN HOUSE SET

The New Albany Human Rights Commission will hold its first open house Oct. 25.

The commission — which was formed last year by the city council — has yet to hear a case, but members said they want to inform the public of body’s role in the community. Commission member Brad Bell said it will be a meet-and-greet event and there will be informational handouts for people to take with them.

He said the commission would like to see representatives from a variety of causes and groups at the public forum.

“We want to make sure some of the bigger organizations out there that deal with discrimination issues” are aware of the human rights commission, he said.

The event will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Oct. 25 at The Carnegie Center, 201 E. Spring St. in downtown New Albany. It will be open to the public.



STORMWATER PROJECTS MOVE FORWARD

The New Albany Stormwater Board is expected to award a contract for a culvert replacement along Grant Line Road this week. It’s a step toward completing several projects outlined by the utility in 2012 when the city council approved a bond for up to $6 million for drainage improvements.

Stormwater Coordinator Joseph Ham said the utility plans to request bids for a drainage project near Reno Avenue next month, and that design work for a project for the 15th Street corridor should also be finished soon.

There are drainage basin projects also planned for the Silver Street vicinity near Charlestown Road that could be sent out for bids this year.

Officials estimate the bond could cover up to 10 projects.