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Orange Barrel Hell: 5 road projects to avoid at all costs

Mike Thomas

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The ubiquitous orange construction barrel: a sign of central Ohio’s continual growth, and the stuff of traffic nightmares.

Road construction in central Ohio is a headache that may be impossible to avoid, but at least you can try. Here are five ongoing road projects to watch out for.

Watkins road at 33 – Closed indefinitely
A truck hit the 33 overpass at Watkins Rd on Thursday, leading to a closure of Watkins that could last for months, according to ODOT officials.

I-70 between I-270 and Wilson Rd – southbound Wilson closed for the weekend
I-270 to I-70 eastbound on the west side, as well as Southbound Wilson Road over I-70, will be closed beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday. The closure will last through the weekend. All lanes will reopen at 5:00 AM Monday.

I-71 South Side ‘Mega Fix’ Between Grove City and Columbus
The South Side construction project on Interstate 71 between Columbus and Grove City will add extra lanes, new bridges, and exit ramps throughout five miles of highway. The project will be under construction for at least three years, with completion targeted for the Fall of 2020.

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I-670 / I-270 Smart Lane
Construction on the Ohio’s first SmartLane has begun. The project spans seven miles miles of I-670 between downtown and John Glenn International Airport.

The new lane, called a SmartLane, will utilize state-of-the-art digital overhead signs installed every three-quarters of a mile to let motorists know if the lane is open to traffic. SmartLanes are intended to ease traffic congestion during peak rush hours.

3rd Avenue Widening near Railroad between Edgehill Road and Columbus Fire Station #25
Eastbound 3rd Avenue is detoured at Northwest Boulevard, except for local business traffic. This detour is expected to be in place for the rest of the year for a widening, reconstruction, and pedestrian path project.

What ongoing road project grinds your gears in your daily commute? Let us know in the comments.

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Studio 35 Theater reopens during renovations

Mike Thomas

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Don’t mind the dust, moviegoers! Studio 35 Cinema & Drafthouse will reopen today, Thursday, May 16. The landmark theater in Clintonville has been closed since Monday for renovations, which are ongoing.

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Additions include a second-story screening room, new seating in the main auditorium, and a kitchen. The upgrades to the historic theater, which opened in 1938, are expected to be completed in August of 2019.

Studio 35 is a champion of independent cinema in Central Ohio, so be sure to get out and show your support throughout their renovation! To catch movie times, view menus, and keep up to date with all of Studio 35’s awesome events, visit studio35.com.

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Quiet down, Uber has a huge announcement

614now

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Tired of being bombarded with political opinions on your way to the grocery store? Sick of feeling obligated to ask, “So, how long have you been an Uber driver?” when all you want to do is scroll through Instagram? Longing to sit in silence in the backseat of a stranger’s car you hailed from the internet? Do you just want to sleep?

We know Uber drivers are only being polite and friendly, but sometimes, you just need quiet.

You need “Quiet Mode.”

Uber has finally rolled out a feature that allows riders to request minimal conversation during rides. Instead of fake laughing and politely nodding your way through a ride, hoping the driver takes the hint, you can simply select the “Quiet preferred” option. There are also options for “Happy to chat” and “No preference.”

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Instead of rudely smashing the “Quiet Mode” button mid-ride, this distinction can only be made before users request the Uber. A few other new options riders can select prior to hailing a vehicle include:

  • Help with Luggage: let your driver know an extra pair of hands is needed for your luggage.
  • Temperature Control: communicate your optimal temperature before entering a vehicle.
  • Extended Pickup Period:  riders will have a little extra time to get to the car when unexpected delays pop up.
  • Premium Support: access premium phone support with live agents if you need something to be made right. 
  • Professionalism: ride with confidence knowing that your professional, commercially-licensed driver is at the top of his or her game.
  • Consistent Vehicle Quality: expect the same kinds of rides, every time, with consistent vehicle model, makes, interiors, and exteriors.

Here’s the catch: these luxury “Rider Preferences” only come with Uber Black and Uber Black SUV premium rides, though. Are you willing to drop the extra dough to control the conversation during your next Uber ride?

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More scooters coming soon to a sidewalk near you

Mike Thomas

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Love them or hate them, it seems another wave of shared mobility devices are on the way to Central Ohio.

According to a report from WCMH, more than one thousand new electric scooters and bikes from companies with names like Jump, Spin, and Roam could be coming soon.

Jump and Spin have already gained approval from the city to launch their fleets of electric scooters and bikes. Under current rules, each company is allowed up to 500 mobility devices—meaning 1,500 more scooters and bikes will be available throughout the city.

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Columbus based e-bike company Roam is still in the process of gaining approval for a planned Spring 2019 launch. While electric scooters have become a familiar sight, Roam’s bikes are sure to stand out when they eventually hit the streets:

Are you excited to see more mobility options coming to town, or worried about the issues these devices raise? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

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