While residents of Forest Park fume over a major change in the traffic pattern for Tamarack Circle, motorists who use Karl Road can prepare for a similar switch.
Some frequent users of Tamarack Circle were dismayed several weeks ago when, in the wake of a repaving project, city crews painted stripes for parking spaces on the outer lane, which had been used for travel, added a bicycle lane next to that and restricted vehicles to the inner lane.
Forest Park Civic Association president Mike Stone has said the bicycle lanes were anticipated, but the loss of a travel lane in favor of parking came as a complete surprise to residents and community leaders.
He termed it a "seismic shift in terms of the traffic patterns" and expressed frustration that no public meetings were held to apprise people of the shift.
"Whenever we take out parking, we always do a public meeting on that, but this time we're adding parking, which is an improvement to the area," Steve Cordetti, a public relations specialist with the city's Department of Public Service, told ThisWeek for a story published Aug. 23.
A project along the same lines for Karl Road, also following repaving, is being planned, but Northland Community Council president Emmanuel V. Remy said last week it's not going to come as a surprise, and meetings have been held to permit the public to comment.
Karl Road from Morse Road south to Elmore Avenue, currently two lanes in either direction, is to be reduced to one lane in each direction, with a turn lane in the middle and bike lanes near the curb. Sharrows, the chevron-like markings in the street to advise motorists to provide space for bike riders, will be added to Karl Road between Elmore Avenue and Oakland Park Avenue, where the street already narrows to two lanes.
"For a lot of people, it's a real shock," Remy said at the NCC meeting last week about the aggressive approach Columbus city officials are taking to adding bicycle lanes. "They're trying to do it whenever and wherever they can.
"They almost snuck this Karl Road business in," he added. "They've started doing it the right way. They certainly didn't do it the right way when it comes to Forest Park."
"They thought the community would appreciate parking for cars," David Roseman, the Consider Biking representative to the council, said at the meeting. "They thought people would appreciate the added amenities, but unfortunately, they didn't do it in a proactive manner."
"By their own admission, the city messed up when they changed Tamarack Circle without a more significant consideration for those who inhabit the area," Stone wrote in an email sent out last week. "The question for all of us in Forest Park is what action, if any, should we take?
"As a neighborhood, we are too large to ignore," he wrote. "I believe that we can get some changes made to Tamarack. It will take a significant amount of people working in a coordinated effort to do this. The degree of participation needed will exceed the manpower of our board, so we are calling on our residents to pitch in and help."
Stone created a five-question online survey at surveymonkey.com/s/XKJYLPY to accept comments through Oct. 5. He also established an email address, circle@FPCIVIC.org, to "document commentary, pro or con, about the new Tamarack Circle realignment."
The civic organization was scheduled to have a meeting this week at which further discussion was planned.