Drivers seeking to turn right on Pickerington's Hill Road from Diley Road when the traffic signal is red have to wait patiently at the stoplight because "right turn on red" is not permitted at that intersection.
The end result, according to city officials, are unnecessary delays and congestion as well as vehicles cutting through the parking lot of the Discount Drug Mart Plaza to avoid having to wait out the light.
To remedy the situation, Pickerington City Council is considering an amendment to the city's traffic control map which would eliminate the "no right on red" signs at the intersection.
Pickerington City Engineer Scott Tourville advised City Council members at their meeting Feb. 4 that he conducted an analysis of the Hill Road-Diley Road intersection and concluded "from an engineering standpoint" the turn restriction "is not needed."
City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the removal of the "no right on red" signs and voted 6-0 to move the legislation forward to a second reading.
The matter was previously discussed at the Jan. 22 Safety Committee meeting whereupon Tourville advised city officials removing the sign will increase the capacity of the intersection.
He also said there is adequate sight distance at the intersection and there are usually sufficient gaps for vehicles to make the turn onto Hill Road.
City Council President Chris Schweitzer said he respects Tourville's professional opinion about the intersection.
"I'm on board with whatever the City Engineer recommends," Schweitzer said.
"Since I've been on City Council I have had the (philosophy) that you let the experts guide you.
"I always defer to the experts in the room and he sees this as absolutely necessary," Schweitzer said.
In a related matter, Tourville was asked to look into the feasibility of installing "no right on red" signs at two other intersections after a Pickerington resident, Karl Martin, appeared before City Council Jan. 7 to complain about safety issues on Hill Road.
Martin said the intersections of Hill Road and Refugee Road and Hill Road and Tussing Road (state Route 204) are both problematic.
"I drive up and down (state Route) 256 six or seven times a day from one end to the other and there has never been a single time at the intersections that somebody hasn't pulled out in front of me," Martin said.
Tourville advised the Safety Committee he did not support implementing the restrictions at those intersections.
He said he reviewed Martin's request along with the Pickerington Police Department and they both concluded that those intersections are already tough to get through.
Thus, further restricting the capacity of those two intersections would cause additional traffic congestion and would not meet engineering criteria, Tourville said.