Sandusky has made incredible progress in revitalizing downtown infrastructure, most notably in the recently finished Jackson Street Pier and Shoreline Drive projects. We are already seeing the benefits of these improvements through increased daily pedestrian and bicycle usage, increased patronage of area businesses, new private investment, and a full calendar of events and programming. Future phases of downtown infrastructure improvements will continue the revitalization process by bringing the next set of key places up to the quality and usefulness of these recent improvements.
Columbus Avenue is identified in the Downtown Plan as the next major project for public realm improvements. As the central spine of downtown, Columbus Avenue terminates into Schade-Mylander Plaza with iconic views of the water. Columbus Avenue is Sandusky’s “Main Street,” anchored by City Hall and Sandusky State Theatre. The street also functions as the center of downtown’s retail environment, connecting the bustling retail spaces along Market Street, Water Street, and Shoreline Drive.
Planning Objectives for the Columbus Avenue Focus Area include:
- Make Columbus Avenue downtown’s most vibrant street
- Foster connection to Shoreline Drive and Jackson Street Pier
- Anchor the civic and retail core of downtown
- Increase waterfront connection and outdoor dining opportunities
- Continue the transformation of experience at the terminus to Sandusky Bay
The focus area for the Columbus Avenue project stretches from Schade-Mylander Plaza south to Adams Street.
Examples of Active Downtown Streetscapes
Below are examples of other streetscapes in nearby cities that have features that were identified as desirable for Columbus Avenue.
What We've Heard
In our initial meetings with Columbus Ave. stakeholders, we received feedback about what people would like to see in a redesigned Columbus Ave. A summary of those findings is shown below.
The Columbus Avenue streetscape concept emphasizes the idea of the corridor as a “Festival Street,” including elements described in the Vision for the Public Realm, and adds a “Linear Park” experience to the streetscape. Columbus Avenue Concept | Festival Street + Linear Park creates a parallel parking condition on Columbus Avenue to enable a seamless festival area in the center of the street (for times it is closed to
traffic) and connect Washington Park with Schade-Mylander Plaza with a linear park experience along the sidewalk edge. Sidewalk size is increased from nine feet today to between 15–20 feet (since right-of-way dimensions vary from block to block). An 11–14 feet amenity zone for park elements such as seating and public art is added within the linear park space containing seasonal plantings and high-canopy street trees.
Looking north on Columbus Ave from Water St at night
Looking south on Columbus Ave from Market St during a street festival
Looking south on Columbus Ave from Washington Row
Before and After Aerial Views of Columbus Ave.
The proposed streetscape design includes 108 on-street parking spaces on Columbus Ave between Water and Adams. Today, there are 115 regular parking spaces on that stretch. However, the City is adding more parking spaces to locations close to Columbus Ave to make sure that the project gives us more parking overall in the core blocks of downtown. This includes 8 additional spaces in the public lot on East Water Street across from Shores & Islands Ohio, and 10 additional spaces on either side of Washington Row. With those additions, the overall parking number is 126 spaces (an 11-space increase from today). Further, a traffic study found that the left turning lanes on Washington Street are not warranted. With the turn lanes removed, we have the opportunity to add at least ten more on Washington Street, reaching the total completed parking number to 136.
Presentation to City Commission
The Planning Division and project team gave an update on the project to the City Commission on October 24, 2022. Watch the presentation below.
View the Presentation Document