By Becca Hart
The existing Central Street that cuts through the OTC campus is planned to be removed and relocated, affecting student and vehicle transportation.
“The idea is to vacate Central Street east of the roundabout and west of National Avenue to OTC. This portion of Central Street OTC can adjust to their needs internally on their campus, as it will no longer be considered a City public street,” said Andrew Flippin, the project manager of the Central/Pythian Project for the City of Springfield.
The construction is expected to begin on Central Street west of Sherman Avenue and Pythian Street east of Sherman Avenue in the spring or early summer of 2016 and will take approximately four to five months to complete. Flippin said that the project will hopefully be completed by August 2016, before school is in session.
OTC officials believe the Central Street project will improve the safety of campus students and faculty when finished.
“Our big concern has always been just safety,” said Mark Miller, OTC director of communications. “We want to make sure our faculty and staff and students are safe crossing that road, and this will allow that.”
The removal of Central Street will limit traffic and put priority on bicycle, pedestrian and public transportation, according to Flippin. Roundabouts are planned to replace many of the signaled intersections along the route and the streets planned to be narrowed, allowing wide biking and walking lanes that will be separated by grass medians or walls.
Central Street’s removal will benefit everyone, not just those that choose to drive a car, Flippin said. By removing Central Street, the city sees this as a great opportunity to provide a through corridor via bike and pedestrian trails, and the vehicular roadway that will connect a lot of different destinations such as Evangel, OTC, Drury, Central High School, the downtown library, City Utilities, City of Springfield campus, and the Greene County campus.
“By providing trails, sidewalks, and bike paths that connect high traffic destinations, people have more options than getting in a vehicle and driving,” Flippin said.