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Board of Trustees to review long-term parking plan

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After announcing a plan for long-term parking and transit changes on campus, the Board of Trustees’ financial committee is set to review specifics of that plan Thursday.

The multi-year plan is aimed at “discouraging the need to drive around the campus core.”

“An important principle of the future transit network is to reserve campus streets for use by CABS,” the proposal states. “Locations along the perimeter of campus are identified for COTA and other private bus services.”

If enacted, the plan would ban private driving on 17th, 18th and 19th avenues between Neil Avenue and College Road, except for off-peak hours.

The plan is necessitated by the growth of the Wexner Medical Center, the relocation of Cannon Drive and the North Residential District Transformation construction, among other factors, according to the Board meeting agenda.

The relocation of Cannon Drive in particular will displace approximately 2,100 parking spaces additional growth will require 300 new spaces. Under the new plan, those spaces would be moved to the Carmack and Buckeye lots on West Campus, which currently provide 6,350 total parking spaces.

The plan ultimately aims to make Ohio State a “park once” campus, with buses and pedestrian traffic serving as the main transport around the main campus.

As a result of moving vehicular traffic and parking away from the main campus, the university aims to improve the university’s transit system, ease pedestrian access across the Olentangy River and make the Buckeye and Carmack lots more efficient — which includes adding climate-controlled bus shelters.

The university plans to add a new bus loop around the Wexner Medical Center and replace old bus routes with a “campus core circulator.”

Roadway changes are also proposed to accommodate for bus line changes. The plan aims to connect Neil Avenue between 19th and Woodruff avenues, allow two-way bus traffic on 11th Avenue and connect 17th Avenue between Tuttle Park Place and Cannon Drive.

The plan also aims to accommodate bike traffic with more bike lanes and sharrows, which mark shared lanes cyclists frequently use. More sidewalks are also intended to be added to West Campus and with more pedestrians signals on main campus.

During its Friday meeting, the Board is set to approve two joint use agreements with two private groups. A $250,000 grant to nonprofit agency Hattie Larlham is set to develop a new food hub in Akron with research access for Ohio State. Another $250,000 grant from the state would allow nonprofit agency Tech Town New Market Inc. to develop a new facility in Dayton for Air Force and non-defense research, with use also granted to Ohio State.

Properties on Neil and Lane avenues, as well as Ackerman Road, are also set to be sold off.

The Board is also set to approve a $3.8 million renovation and expansion of the School of Music, as part of its arts district planning. That plan recently saw a $31.5 million renovation to Sullivant Hall, and ultimately aims to bring the Department of Theatre closer to the Wexner Center for the Arts.

The Board is also set revise OSU’s and the Harding Hospital’s retirement plans to treat same-sex spouses the same as opposite-sex spouses. The Internal Revenue Service recommended such a change after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional on June 26, 2013.

In accordance with a recently passed Ohio House bill No. 488, the university’s Office for Military and Veterans Services is also set to expand its support and assistance for current and veteran members of the military. The Board is also set to approve a fall break that would begin for Fall Semester 2015.

Trustee Timothy Smucker, chairman of J.M. Smucker Company’s board, is also set to join the audit and compliance committee, and President Michael Drake is scheduled to lay out his “presidential goals” at Thursday’s governance committee meeting.

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