By 2030, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission envisions Gemini Parkway extending east through the former Germain Amphitheater site to Worthington Road.

By 2030, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission envisions Gemini Parkway extending east through the former Germain Amphitheater site to Worthington Road.

There would be a new roadway connecting that portion of Gemini to Polaris Parkway at Old Worthington Road.

At the same time, Cleveland Avenue could extend north to Africa Road or Worthington Road, and Lyra Drive could extend to Worthington Road.

The Westerville Planning Commission heard about those possibilities, and the potential effects on Polaris Parkway in Westerville and on a roadway planned between Polaris Parkway and County Line Road near Olde Worthington Road, at its May 23 meeting.

The Gemini Parkway Extension Study was created by MORPC at the request of Columbus, Westerville and Delaware County, whose leaders worried about the effects of redevelopment of the former Germain Amphitheater site on area roadways.

The amphitheater, just east of Interstate 71 and north of Polaris Parkway at the corner of Gemini Parkway and Orion Place, closed in 2007.

It was purchased by Polaris-area developer NP Limited earlier this year. Representatives from the company have said the 90-acre site would be ideal for an office park or single-use development such as a hospital.

MORPC projections showed minimal impact of a future development on Westerville's roads, with most of the city's intersections and throughways maintaining passing ratings, said Westerville Planning and Development Director Karl Craven, who presented the report to the Planning Commission.

Some portions of Columbus-owned roads, however, showed more congestion, Craven said.

The projections showed heavy congestion in the more narrow portion of Polaris Parkway between Orion Place and Worthington Road. Depending on the configuration of new streets, the already frequently backed-up intersection at Polaris Parkway and Orion Place dropped to a failing letter grade.

"For the most part, I think it's a good thing for Westerville," Craven said of MORPC's proposed roadway extensions.

Commission members, however, worried that heavy traffic on the Columbus portion of Polaris Parkway could drive more traffic onto streets not intended as thoroughfares.

The MORPC projections showed traffic moving slowly on a planned east-west Westerville roadway from Worthington Road at Olde Worthington Road. That road would end in a roundabout at a roadway running north-south between Polaris Parkway and County Line Road.

"I predict that's going to get a lot more traffic (than predicted by MORPC) ... because it's the cleanest route," said commission member Brian Szuch.

City Councilwoman Diane Fosselman, who sits on the commission, expressed frustration that Columbus would look to create new roadways rather than fix problem areas, such as the narrowed stretch of Polaris Parkway that is prone to bottlenecking and the intersection of Polaris Parkway and Orion Place.

"We have problems today, let alone in 2030, that are not being addressed," Fosselman said. "I know we have plans for Westerville. I'm concerned about those problems in other jurisdictions."

Craven said the hope is that the MORPC study will help create dialogue among the jurisdictions within the Polaris area to work toward improvements.

"Hopefully, the study becomes a talking point," he said. "Columbus is aware of it, obviously. They've commissioned studies; they just haven't put any money into it. They've put money into other areas."