MidTown Blog

Minimum Grid: Connecting People, Places and Projects


Final report, 13thstreet pilot

The Minimum Grid gets real. Walk. Ride. Sit. Stay. Play. Connect.

The Minimum Grid project was not a year of study and observation to create a plan
—that sits on a shelf.

Published in December, 2015, Minimum Grid, Maximum Impact: A Public Space and Mobility Plan for the Core Community is a product of MidTown, Inc.’s 2015 Knight Cities Challenge-winning project. It is both inspiration and guidebook for REAL change to better connect people, neighborhoods and the places we love. It is a blueprint for making it safer and more attractive for residents and visitors to walk, bike, ride transit or drive.

For almost a year, a team from the world-renowned Gehl Studio helped Columbus citizens and leaders define our favorite places and see active transportation challenges and opportunities more clearly. In one particular half-day workshop, scores of community representatives set out on a series of journeys—on foot and bicycle, by car and bus. After teams reported their experiences, the City’s Director of Engineering Donna Newman observed that this workshop has given us new ways to think about a project’s impact on people. Our departments will evaluate future projects from these different points of view.

A lively Minimum Grid plan has helped foster and connect other community initiatives:

Favorite places—Broadway in Uptown, the Columbus Museum, Lakebottom Park and the Columbus Public Library—helped define the Community Foundation’s work of Reimagining Our Civic Commons.

MidTown’s Wynnton Streetscape Enhancement breaks ground in May. In the center of MidTown, its goal is to help erase a dividing line and recreate a heart of the community.

The Minimum Grid plan is an essential element of Columbus 2025’s strategic goal for creating a community of Vibrant and Connected Places.

The plan defines in-town, on-street links that help connect people to the Dragonfly Trails, a growing system of greenway multi-use trails.

With its resurfacing of Macon-Wynnton Road, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is incorporating Minimum Grid recommendations for safer pedestrian crossing.

Metra has created a new Route 8 that connects Uptown with the Civic Commons.

And MidTown, Inc.’s partnership with the Incremental Development Alliance builds upon the Minimum Grid plan to use safer, more attractive transportation connections as tools for economic regeneration.

The Minimum Grid plan grew from a decade of events and activities—especially seasonal Bike Arounds and an annual Walk to School Day, sponsored by MidTown and our partner organizations—that brought growing awareness to active transportation opportunities. In 2014 the 8-80 Cities Forum in Chicago introduced a Columbus delegation to a new term—Minimum Grid—and inspired a Knight Cities Challenge-winning proposal and the public engagement, expert planning and civic innovation that has followed.

What is happening on 13th Street now? It’s a REAL Minimum Grid Demonstration Project, a complete street conversion that will connect Favorite Places—Lakebottom Park and the Riverwalk—meeting the soon-to-be-completed Dragonfly Trail at 10th Avenue and Linwood Boulevard. Details HERE.

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