Friday, February 27, 2009

Planning a New Downtown... Greene County. In 1965 or 1966.

The mid 1960s was when I-675 alignment was set, and was the time the WSU campus was aquired. And it also was a time when western Greene County had a planning authority working on land use and community planning for Beavercreek and Bath Townships and the city of Fairborn. A true attempt at regional, cross-jurisdictional thinking.

As part of the planning effort an area plan was developed for the new university district, which also bordered Wright-Patterson AFB. At that time the college was called Miami University-Ohio State University Dayton, sort of like IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianpolis). The cumbersome name was soon shortend to Wright State.

The area plan was interesting in that it shows full interchanges at three locations on Ohio 444, indicating that this was still an important highway. Another interesting feature is how the interchanges work with the adjoining surface streets, and the one interchange that led direct into the campus from I-675, not OH 844.

The little two-lane Zink Road becomes a big four lane highway, and New Germany/Trebein is realigned to permit a greenbelt between it and I-675 (which as we know did not happen).

The area today, quite a bit different. But the alignment intent of holding I-675 away from Colonel Glenn Highway to make the land a development zone did come to pass, as it was shown in the zoning, as a strip of commercial development.

And a close-up of the heart of the area, showing how the campus was planned out and actually integrated somewhat with surrounding development.
The integration isn't that sucessfull today, but the somewhat modernist/commercial feel of the campus buildings blends in with the surrounding spec office complexes so one could misread the campus as just another office park. Some nice touches is aligning the parking access on the west side of the campus with the roads of the office park south of Colonel Glenn and the access to the big box Meijer store west of campus.

Not shown on the aeriel is the very recent transformation of New Germany/Trebein Road into the four lane Pentagon Parkway, lined with new office and hotel developments and apartment complexes. Still a lot of open space there, though.

Perhaps whats' interesting here is that planning for growth was happening so early, 20-25 years before things really took off at this location. Today, this is one of Dayton's most vibrant and booming edge cities, a true new downtown.

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