City to modernize ‘Thousand Islands’ on Cherry StreetWritten by Jordan Finney | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Reconstruction of “Thousand Islands” on Cherry Street will be the first phase of a larger renovation project that Toledo’s Department of Public Utilities says will be “absolutely transformative” for the entire city.
So-called “Thousand Islands,” also referred to as “spaghetti junction” by nearby residents, is the accident-prone intersection of five major roadways: Cherry Street, Detroit and Berdan avenues, and Collingwood and Manhattan boulevards.
“We’ve been working on ways to fix the confusing antiquate geometry of Thousand Islands for several years,” said David Dysard, the Department of Public Utilities’ planning administrator. “Right now it’s a complicated mess of channelized islands. But we’re going to do this right. It’s going to look like a renovated area that’s ready for the 21st century.”
Paul Vagts, a Cherry Street resident, said the road improvements have been needed for a long time.
“We have many instances where people come off Collingwood and go left. That’s the wrong turn,” Vagts said. “It’s dangerous the way it is right now, especially if you’re an out-of-towner. It’s been needing change for a long time.”
The renovation will cost an estimated $4.6 million, funded 80 percent by federal dollars and 20 percent with local dollars, according to Toledo’s Division of Engineering Services. Construction will begin in July and should be “substantially completed” by November.
Dysard said Thousand Islands will be replaced with two “modern” roundabouts that should “reduce fatalities by over 90 percent, personal driving accidents by 40 percent and accidents overall by 30 percent.”
Karen Rogalski, Cherry Street Legacy Project coordinator, said that the project will also improve pedestrian safety, prevent accidents and allow children to walk safely across Cherry Street on their way to school.
“We are really, really excited about this project,” Dysard said. “We’re very hopeful that this will be absolutely transformative for the entire area. It’s an underinvested area and the roads are in terrible shape. We’re not just going to fix what’s here but reconstruct the whole corridor.”
Pending the completion of the Thousand Islands renovation, a second phase of the larger construction project will move forward. This phase, which is administered by Ohio Department of Transportation, includes rebuilding Interstate 75, the Jeep Parkway area and a couple other nearby roundabouts. This second phase has no current projected budget and is set to begin in 2016 and be finished in 2018.
In addition, the second phase includes uniting the neighborhood with consistent landscape architecture.
“There is real historic architecture in the neighborhood that we wanted to pick up on as a theme,” said Richard Meyers, a member of the architecture team that is working on landscape designs for the project.
Meyers said that the “iconic brick” is the major unifying element of the design, which was inspired by a parkland with diverse trees placed in an informal, natural pattern.
“Cherry Street is a major tributary into the Downtown area and the marina district. By incorporating the iconic symbolism of local architecture into the landscape, this area will become a true gateway for the city,” Rogalski said.
Tags: Berdan Avenue, Cherry Street, Cherry Street Legacy Project, Collingwood Boulevard, David Dysard, Department of Public Utilities, Detroit Avenue, Division of Engineering Services, Karen Rogalski, Manhattan Boulevard, ODOT, Ohio Department of Transportation, Paul Vagts, Richard Meyers, Thousand Islands