Westerville is looking to put some of its roads on a "diet" -- reducing pavement widths and making streets more pedestrian and bicycle friendly -- and the intersection of Schrock Road and Spring Street could be its first attempt.
City staff presented a plan to City Council Nov. 13 for a roundabout at Schrock Road and Spring Street. Schrock Road is scheduled to be reconstructed between Pointview and Hempstead roads in 2014.
"We thought it might be an opportunity of visiting this large mass of pavement to see if there would be any benefit in introducing a roundabout," said Planning and Development Director Karl Craven.
For the reconstructed roadway, the city envisions one lane in each direction for motorists, one for bicyclists and one for parking, Craven said.
That would replace the current configuration of two lanes in each direction, with parking allowed in the rightmost lanes.
At Schrock Road and Spring Street, the city would construct a one-lane roundabout. The bike lane would exit the roadway before the roundabout, and bicyclists would use pedestrian crosswalks before being redirected onto the roadway, Craven said.
"It's a recommended design concept that's been pretty much nationally followed," Craven said of the roundabout.
The plan is purely conceptual at this point, Craven said, but city staff wanted to gauge council's approval for the plan and present it to residents of the neighborhood for feedback early next year.
Overall, members of council were supportive of the concept and favored presenting it to residents for feedback.
"I think it's a good option. If anyone's been at the eight-lane four-way stop, they know it can become kind of hairy," said Councilman Larry Jenkins.
There were some concerns, however, about having cyclists exit then re-enter the roadway, as cyclists are required to act like motorists under state traffic laws.
"If I were riding on a roadway, I would never leave a roadway to cross the street then re-enter the roadway," said Jenkins, an avid cyclist. When I saw this, this was counter-intuitive to me. I would not follow this marking."
Council members also questioned how much the roundabout would cost, compared with simply redoing the roadway with its current configuration, though council Chairman Mike Heyeck pointed out that the roadways are meant to last 30 years.
With traffic expected to increase in the area within that timeframe, constructing a roundabout now would be cheaper than adding a stoplight in the future, Heyeck said.