Sandra Binning has a lot of concerns about traffic safety on 1st Avenue in Grandview Heights, especially for the kids at Stevenson Elementary. But after two nights of city officials and engineers explaining how the street will be made safer despite Grandview Yard growing, Binning said she's relieved.
Sandra Binning has a lot of concerns about traffic safety on 1st Avenue in Grandview Heights, especially for the kids at Stevenson Elementary.
But after two nights of city officials and engineers explaining how the street will be made safer despite Grandview Yard growing, Binning said she’s relieved.
“It looks like it’s going to be safer, pedestrian friendly, bike friendly,” said Binning, who lives on the street that officials are calling the “community’s access” to the Yard.
“At this point, I’m reassured 1st Avenue is not going to turn into a giant highway, a giant freeway.”
A meeting on Thursday night focused on safety at Stevenson. In the morning, cars and minivans line both sides of 1st , spilling out children who take parents’ hands and scurry across the street to the school, not always at a crosswalk.
Mayor Ray DeGraw noted some efforts under way to improve safety for the school.
Starting this fall, first- and second-graders will be dropped off on the east side of the school, on Oxley Road, instead of 1st; sidewalks on nearby Hilo Lane were improved and a lane will be marked for dropoff only between 7 and 9 a.m. A raised crosswalk is being installed on Oxley and a speed bump farther north on that road to slow traffic.
The city expects grant money to arrive in July 2015 to pay for “bump outs” at certain intersections, similar to those on Oakland Avenue near the middle school that shorten the time it takes to cross a street. A combination of school-warning lights and crosswalks also will be installed at several locations on 1st, including Oxley, Virginia Avenue and Parkway North.
Parents suggested making Parkway one-way westbound between Virginia and 1st to discourage parents from veering onto 1st as a back way to Stevenson.
“Nothing’s off the table,” City Council President Anthony Panzera said.
A second meetingtonight focused on what will happen when 1st Avenue is realigned to be a direct connection across Northwest Boulevard to Grandview Yard, where Nationwide Insurance plans to build a 500,000-square-foot campus for 3,000 workers. City officials see the street as the “ community’s access” to the Yard, which will become another neighborhood in the city with a potential for 1,300 residences.
No one is saying there won’t be more traffic, city officials said, but the goal is to make the street safe.
When the Yard is fully developed in five or six years, there could be 200 more cars at a one-hour peak each morning and afternoon, traffic engineer Doyle Clear said.
There will be a traffic signal at 1st and Northwest, an intersection that will be the pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly entrance to the Yard. Another traffic signal would be farther south on 1st at Williams Avenue.
Clear said the goal is to direct outside traffic to the Yard by providing “gateways” at arterial streets such as Goodale Boulevard and 3rd Avenue.
“We all drive the avenue of least resistance,” he said. “We’re trying to get as much traffic on 5th (Avenue), 3rd and Goodale, so no one wants to drive on 1st.”
Some suggestions from the audience were creative. Tracy Kessler suggested a pedestrian bridge, with a “Welcome to Grandview” sign, spanning Northwest to the Yard.
Tim Adams recommended terminating 1st at Northwest and across the street putting a grassy pathway welcoming people to the development.
The ideas collected at the meetings will be presented on Wednesday to the city’s Planning Commission, which will formulate a proposal to present to City Council.