Route 6 Corridor Project Seeks To Revitalize Vermilion's East End
July 23, 2019 at 11:45 am
A U.S. Route 6 corridor project seeks to revitalize and expand the east end of Vermilion, Ohio. A study resulted in proposals for changes in land usage and street improvements.
In early 2018, Law Director Ken Stumphauzer organized a lunch meeting with Mayor Forthofer and County Administrator Jim Cordes to discuss developing the east end of Vermilion. Within three weeks the City of Vermilion was awarded a grant for $35,000 to do a study to pursue the development of the Lorain County Route 6 Corridor and adjoining possible areas for development. The study was completed by the Lorain County Community Development Group who contracted MS Consultants.
Don Romancak, Director of Lorain County Community Development, and Valerie Croasmun, Engineer with MS Consultants, Inc. were present at a recent city meeting to review the study with Council.
Don Romancak stated the study was conducted following a conversation that Attorney Stumphauzer had arranged, but it also had been building off some of the work the city had previously done with the overall Lakefront Connectivity Study. They were able to take advantage of the county study and see some of the opportunities, as well as interact with the citizens of Vermilion about the lakefront. The Lakefront Connectivity Study was funded by NOACA and they worked with Lorain, Vermilion, Sheffield Lake, and Avon Lake. They are working on a guide for the development of Route 6 that will enable increased investment and job creation opportunities, as well as expanding the city’s tax base for both the city and local school district.
Valerie Croasmun, of MS Consultants, said she was overseeing the evaluation and documentation that was put together for the study of the Route 6 Corridor. They were building off the connectivity plan as there was a lot of information and documentation that was done to look at how they could promote non-motorized vehicle travel along the lakefront corridor. They looked at bike lanes on-street, multi-use trails and what the streets can handle in the right of way. The study uses the Vermilion area from east of the downtown from Salem Street over to the eastern limits by Baumhart. They focused on both land use and aesthetics.
“This will help promote development in this area,” stated Croasmun. “This is a major arterial corridor.”
They separated the report into two sections: roadway recommendations and land use recommendations. They also included some specific site recommendations. With the roadway section, they broke it into two sections. The Salem area east to just over the railroad bridges contains residential and businesses. From the railroad overpass east to Baumhart the area is more industrial/commercial, with some residential drives along the corridor. Based on the connectivity plan, they looked at what might fit in this right of way.
“There is a need to put in four-travel lanes (two in each direction), a center median – we are looking at 10 ft. median and a 5 ft. tree lawn, and then a sidewalk on one side and a multi-use path on the other, or vice versa,” stated Croasmun. “This must be looked at in conjunction with drainage – is this going to be curbed or uncurbed, and what can be handled in the right of way?”
The study suggest a shared use path on each side of the tree lawn with four travel lanes, and then a dividing median that could be planted. One of the reasons they are looking into the planted medians is because it could be a way to handle the stormwater with a bio-swale situation or rain guards.
“This promotes the aesthetics in the area and promotes to developers that they have something that can mitigate stormwater,” stated Croasmun. “The median helps control and limit conflict points on corridors. They can prevent accidents and you can try to promote everybody coming out at signalized intersections as it helps the operation of the roadway and makes it safer for bikers and pedestrians.”
The study also looked at the existing land use and what could be the big picture. Industry could be on the east side to compliment the area with an Industrial Park. They initially looked at five sites along the corridor that were either vacant, or would be vacant, and could be utilized for development. They came up with ideas, designs and concepts on how the site could look, which was defined in the report. The study looked at all the utilities along the corridor to see what is there and what is not. The city engineer provided them with documentation on sewer lines, etc. Internet access is lacking in the corridor, so this is something the city would need to look at because businesses would need those services. In the end they are looking at an implementation in funding.
Croasmun stated they would do a whole traffic analysis to make sure they have turn lanes at intersections so drivers can turn or make U-turns. Roundabouts could also be utilized.
Croasmun said the next step is to finalize the implementation plan for review and comment, and then the City can start implementing.
Mayor Forthofer stated this is a “full-blown maximum plan”, and not everything in the plan is something the city will want to do.”
“...but it’s a beginning to a lot of thought for this section of town,” said the mayor.