Miracle on
18th Avenue

When digging up 18th Avenue to install new underground utilities, the Ohio State University took the opportunity to devise a sustainable, pedestrian-oriented, flexible vision for a major campus thoroughfare.

To transform the experience of moving through the OSU campus, NBBJ’s landscape plan reclaims a quarter-mile, 130,000-square-foot segment of vehicular 18th Avenue for pedestrian use. On-street parking is eliminated and access to nearby parking lots redirected; at the same time, a 24-foot-wide asphalt right-of-way remains for service vehicles and to preserve flexibility in future use.

Plazas — marked by permeable pavers, shade trees and seating — invite active use at the street’s ends and at significant destinations such as cafés, crossings and green space. To create a more sustainable environment, storm water runoff is managed onsite with permeable paving, new landscaped areas and bio-swales. New seedlings will, over time, increase tree canopy coverage and the diversity of tree species.

On the street itself, graphic applications of road paint, inspired by existing campus road markings, assist in wayfinding and in creating a playful, interactive and unique pedestrian environment. The result is a cohesive sense of place, one that facilitates both circulation and a more sustainable campus.