Tri-Village News

City losing hope for grant to sync traffic signals

City asked for MORPC funds to align signals with Columbus'


The city of Grandview Heights has submitted a grant application to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, but after last week's meeting with a funding subcommittee, it appears the city's chances of receiving the grant are slim.

"You never say never, but it doesn't look like we're going to make the final cut," Director of Administration/Economic Development Patrik Bowman said.

The city is applying for a second time for money from MORPC's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Fund. The fund is awarded through MORPC but administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

At the meeting last Thursday, Nov. 15, Grandview and other applicants presented details about the respective projects they want funded.

In 2010, the city was awarded $3.1 million in funds via the same program to pay for the first phase of a project to upgrade traffic signals at intersections throughout the city.

Engineering work is now under way to confirm that improvements to the traffic signals are warranted, using criteria set through the grant program. The engineering work is expected to continue through the rest of this year.

The city will receive the Phase One grant money next year, once the warrant study is completed, Bowman said.

Work is nearly complete on upgrading the traffic signal at Grandview Avenue and Dublin Road, a traffic light that was in particularly bad shape, he said.

For its second application, the city asked for $525,000 to pay for its signals to be interconnected to the Columbus system.

By being connected to the larger city's system, better control of the signals and traffic flow could be maintained, Bowman said.

The Columbus system would be able to monitor and control the timing of Grandview's signals, based on traffic patterns in the areas near the signals that lie in Columbus or other municipalities, he said.

While MORPC has $64 million available for its next round of grants, there are just too many other applications, some for much larger projects affecting more heavily traveled roadways, for all to be funded, Bowman said.

The applications also are being divided into various categories, some of which have minimum amounts of the available grant money that must be awarded, he said.

In addition to Grandview, Bexley and Whitehall also have applied for grants to interconnect with the Columbus system, Bowman said.

An announcement on the subcommittee's recommendations for which grant requests MORPC should accept was expected this week, he said.

If Grandview's application does not make the final cut, it will mean its plan to interconnect with Columbus will not happen, "at least for now," Bowman said.

"It's not that big of a deal. We got the big one we needed with the first grant," he said. "It will be next year before the grants are awarded and the funding wouldn't have been available until 2016 or 2017."

The important grant was the first application that will allow the city to replace its traffic signals where needed, Bowman said.

In general, Grandview's traffic signals need to be replaced because they have begun to wear out, he said. The engineering study may show the signals at the intersections at First and Oakland avenues and Grandview and Second avenues will not need to be replaced.

More decorative poles and fixtures also may be placed at the intersections.

The city's other intersections with traffic signals include Grandview and Goodale; Grandview and First; Goodale and Northwest Boulevard; Northwest at Oxley Road; Oxley and First; Goodale at Yard Street; Goodale at Edgeworth Street; and the emergency signal on Grandview Avenue at the Municipal Building.