Upper Arlington city officials have launched a new project to improve traffic flow on Lane Avenue through signal coordination.
On April 2, the Upper Arlington Engineering Division implemented a new timing system along Lane Avenue, from Tremont to North Star roads. It's designed to reduce motorists' wait times at traffic lights, as well as the number of stops they must make.
The project is being facilitated by Parsons Brinker Hoff, which will be paid up to $26,578 by the city to improve traffic flow on one of the city's busiest thoroughfares.
"This is our first real signal-coordination project," Assistant City Engineer Jackie Thiel said. "We're using wireless coordination.
"The signals have radio antenna that communicate with each other. In the coming weeks ... we will be observing and adjusting timing as needed."
Thiel said the project aims not only to improve travel time along Lane Avenue but also to reduce fuel consumption by motorists who otherwise would burn gasoline while idling at stoplights. It should enhance air quality, she said.
"When motorists get onto Lane Avenue, they should get more green time," Thiel told Upper Arlington City Council during an April 7 conference session.
Thiel said motorists seeking to access Lane Avenue may see longer stop times as they sit at stoplights on side streets, but the signal-coordination project would improve the overall traffic movement through the Lane Avenue corridor.
"Once you're on Lane Avenue, you'll make up more than your delay was," she said.
Upper Arlington Mayor and City Council President Don Leach questioned the need for the project during the April 7 session, saying he didn't want to see excessive speed become an issue.
"From what I've seen, the traffic is moving pretty well," Leach said. "I'm not convinced we need to make it easy to fly down Lane Avenue."
Thiel countered by saying the engineering division doesn't believe the project would increase the number of speeders. She also said better signal coordination should reduce the number of motorists who drive faster in attempts to make it through multiple signals.
"The point of the project is that you don't have to go from light to light," she said. "You'll get through four or five, if not all of them."
Thiel said a study of travel runs as a result of the project is expected to be presented to council before the end of June. The Lane Avenue project could be the start of more signal-coordination projects throughout the city, she said.