Thursday night at 5:30pm, the Historic Landmarks Commission will discuss the proposal for restoring the historic park and grounds at the State Hospital.
Because Center street is busy and can be tricky for many people, the preliminary draft concepts in the bike plan update include a shared-use path connection across Center Street between 24th and 23rd NE. This would take people on bike through the State Hospital grounds.
(The route is in dashed purple behind the label "bobolink." It would connect with sharrows on 24th and 23rd, indicated in dashed light blue.)
Here's a pre-demolition and construction aerial shot with the proposed path marked in green:
As you might imagine, there are multiple and sometimes conflicting needs to be balanced. As on the Capitol Mall - and several other places - an operating water fountain constitutes a liability concern, and the Hospital proposes a trade-off in order to preserve public access to the park area. By leaving the restored fountain dry, and filling it with pebbles as a water substitute, the Hospital is willing to leave the park open. If the fountain must operate, the park would be fenced.
Since there are other options for north-south travel in the area, this is not a critical connection. But it would be nice to preserve the possibility of a nicer crossing at Center Street and the picturesque ramble through the park. Hopefully the Landmarks Commission and Hospital will be able to land on a compromise that preserves public access.
The Commission meets Thursday, July 21, 2011, 5:30 P.M. in Council Chambers at the Civic Center.