Following a public meeting March 18, city of Columbus officials said the decision on whether to widen East North Broadway at North High Street to add a left turn lane now falls to the community.

Following a public meeting March 18, city of Columbus officials said the decision on whether to widen East North Broadway at North High Street to add a left turn lane now falls to the community.

Around 15 city staff members, including Department of Development Director Boyce Safford and Department of Public Service Director Mark Kelsey, attended last week's meeting to outline a proposal they say would improve the efficiency of the intersection and reduce cut-through traffic on residential streets.

Safford said the proposal came about after neighborhood residents asked the city to find a way to address traffic on the residential streets surrounding the intersection.

"There was a part of the (community) that asked the question," Safford said. "As a city, we cannot turn our backs on that question."

The estimated $380,000 proposal, which would widen East North Broadway between North High Street and Broadway Place to create a left turn lane, a through lane and a through lane with right turns, would be paid for with Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds (UIRF).

To make a decision to spend UIRF dollars, the Department of Development, which oversees the funds, requires a consensus from the community, Safford said. The city would receive confirmation of a consensus through a vote from the Clintonville Area Commission to recommend the project, he said.

Following a yes vote from the area commission, Safford said the project would go to the Department of Development then to the city department responsible for implementing the proposal, in this case, the Department of Public Service.

"We are the implementers if the community decides to go forward," Kelsey said. "We're not the decision makers here; you are. I can't stress that enough."

Kelsey said the city has received a lot of input from residents on the proposed turn lane, but the conversation needs to be among residents and members of the CAC.

"We've received e-mails pro and con. The CAC has received e-mails pro and con," Kelsey said. "You're talking to the CAC, which is part of the process."

CAC Chairwoman D Searcy said commissioners are still discussing how they will move toward making a decision on the proposal.

The next CAC meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. April 9, has been moved to a larger location at the Whetstone Community Center.

However, Searcy said a decision has not been made on whether to put the proposal up for a vote at next month's meeting.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com