City to launch traffic-calming program in January
The city of Upper Arlington will begin work on a citywide traffic-calming program in early 2009.
At its last meeting of the year on Dec. 8, city council approved a proposal for the city to enter into contract with two firms, Glatting Jackson and Kercher Anglin, for a total of $77,000 to conduct a traffic-calming assessment.
With the planned redevelopment of the Kingsdale Shopping Center by Continental Real Estate Companies and the rezoning of 3371 and 3381 Tremont Road for a new medical office building, the time has come to step up the traffic-calming efforts, said assistant city manager Joe Valentino.
"It's actually been a project percolating in the background with the traffic safety coordinating committee," Valentino said. "We've had a large number of requests to have the TSCC look at cut-through traffic and speed of traffic through residential neighborhoods."
The assessment is scheduled to begin in January, beginning with London Drive, which residents say gets a high volume of cut-through traffic as a short-cut between Kenny and Tremont roads. London Drive is a good test case for traffic calming, Valentino said.
"We noticed a lot of the requests were from residential streets that were between collector streets and arterial streets," he said. "It started to make sense why a lot of those areas were of concern."
London Drive residents had previously approached the city to explore the possibility of installing stop signs and other alternatives. In response, the TSCC, which consists of city and law enforcement officials, formed a special committee to look at London Drive traffic-calming measures.
"When the Tremont rezoning happened, it kind of catapulted it forward," Valentino said.
Last summer, Valentino met with residents and national traffic-calming expert Dan Burden about solutions for London Drive.
Pete Williams, who has lived on London Drive for nine years and helped organize last summer's meeting, said he's glad the city is beginning the citywide traffic-calming program with his street.
"The city starting with London Drive is probably because we've been working on this longer than anybody," Williams said. "We've got notes in our community organization that go back to the '70s -- maybe even the '60s -- talking about traffic calming."
London Drive residents conducted their own study, counting cars to determine local traffic versus cut-through traffic, and are still evaluating the data, Williams said.
"We were happy to hear the city was going to hire a consultant to study this further," he said. "We said we realized all along it was a whole citywide issue. We kept saying, 'Use us as a guinea pig. We're all for this.'"
The traffic-calming assessment that will begin in January will be the start of a comprehensive, multi-year process exploring a variety of options for the major areas of the city that experience high traffic volume -- the Kingsdale vicinity in particular, Valentino said.
"For council, it was important that we took a look at London Drive and the Lane Avenue corridor as well as really focusing on if Kingsdale happens, if it moves forward the way we want it to move forward, we want to be ahead of it rather than behind it," Valentino said.
"We want to look at the intersections that feed Kingsdale," he said. "We want to take the burden off the residents and be able to say, 'We believe this is the best way to control traffic around Kingsdale.'"