Consultants favor a two-way extension of Hazel Street from Commerce Street to Lincoln Avenue.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Anyone with an interest in the city's proposed extension of Hazel Street has until Nov. 27 to submit comments in writing to Carmen S. Conglose Jr., the city's deputy director of public works.
Conglose and engineers from MS Consultants presented results of their transportation survey Thursday for public comment and said comments in writing are valuable to the progress of the plan.
A proposal by the city would link Youngstown State University to downtown by extending Hazel Street north from Commerce Street to Lincoln Avenue, part of the Lincoln-Rayen-Wood development district.
The consultants presented options of linking YSU and downtown from Commerce to Lincoln either by a pedestrian walkway, a combination of a two-way street and a pedestrian walkway, or a two-way street all the way from Commerce to Lincoln.
The full extension of Hazel Street with a two-way street between Commerce and Lincoln is the preferred plan because it provides the best access for the public, best traffic flow and is best suited for firetrucks and other emergency vehicles, they said.
Fire department concerns
John J. O'Neill Jr., Youngstown fire chief, said his department would approach the area from Wood, Rayen or Lincoln. He said firefighters prefer streets whenever possible rather than driving fire equipment over sidewalks and other pedestrian walkways.
Proponents of the plan said extending the street would give the YSU community access to downtown restaurants and cultural and sporting events.
Several people discussed the need for parking decks both for downtown and YSU because downtown parking continues to be a problem. They said parking decks could be used by people going to the Chevrolet Centre, to restaurants and cultural events.
A few people expressed concern that the entire plan requires the city to take property by eminent domain. Conglose said the plan is in the early-development stages and the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the various options for the Hazel Street extension only. He said any talk of land acquisition was premature.
The development district includes 38 acres at and near YSU with the key project in the area being the construction by the university of a $30 million College of Business Administration on Phelps and Hazel streets and Rayen Avenue.