Westerville News & Public Opinion

Roundabout now out for Schrock-Spring

Bike lanes and narrowing to one lane of traffic in each direction is still planned

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Westerville will not pursue a roundabout at the intersection of Schrock and Spring roads, based on community feedback.

A roundabout -- or continuous-turn circular intersection where all motorists are to yield to traffic in the circle but do not have to fully stop -- was discussed as part of a reconstruction of Schrock Road, from Pointview Drive to South Hempstead Road.

The major project is planned for next summer.

City Council discussed the configuration of the roadway and the intersection at a Sept. 10 work session.

During the work session, City Planning and Development Director Karl Craven said city staff will recommend keeping a four-way stop at the intersection, although a roundabout would improve traffic flow through the area.

"We are of the opinion that it could be a successful roundabout if that's what was chosen," Craven said.

"It seemed that the public is leaning away from the roundabout and encouraging us to continue to use the four-way stop."

The city will seek a new configuration for the roadway, however.

Rather than the existing two lanes of traffic in each direction, with parking allowed in the right through lane, the road will be restriped in each direction to have a narrower parking lane to the right, a dedicated bike lane and one through traffic lane in each direction.

The city also collected input from the community on the configuration, dubbed a "complete street" because of the inclusion of bike lanes, Craven said.

Opinion was fairly well split, he said, but the new configuration would allow for a more residential feel along the road, slow down traffic and accommodate alternate forms of transportation.

The addition of a bike lane would link to the existing Schrock Road bike path to create a continuous trail from South Hempstead Road to the Worthington border.

Some City Council members expressed concern about the bicycle lanes, but Councilman Larry Jenkins, an avid bicyclist, said there was no question about whether to support the complete-street concept.

"For me, it's a fundamental decision of whether we support alternative forms of transportation," Jenkins said.

"I, for one, support the configuration of the complete street, of removing two lanes of traffic on a residential road."

Councilman Craig Treneff said the reconfiguration would merely codify how people generally use the roadway now.

"You've got parking anyway, and someone could ride a bike anyway," Treneff said. "This just completes what we should have done whenever that subdivision was built ages ago."

The only point that remained unsettled was how intersections should be configured.

The city proposed bumping out curbs at the intersections, narrowing them to one lane to create narrower crossings for pedestrians.

The exception would be northbound traffic at Spring Road, which would retain two lanes of traffic to provide for a left turn lane, Craven said.

Some council members said they were concerned the configuration would contain pinch points and cause added congestion.

"What I don't want to do is have to build the road and then modify it," said Mike Heyeck, City Council chairman.

He suggested the city take the suggestion of City Engineer Susan Banbury to use orange cones to block off a lane at the intersection to see how it would affect traffic.

The city's public-comment period on the Schrock Road reconstruction extends through the end of this month, and council won't provide any direction on the road's configuration until the public-comment period ends, Heyeck said.

The road construction is part of the city's 2014 capital-improvement plan, and funding is set to be approved as part of the city's 2014 budget, City Manager Dave Collinsworth said.

The project would go to bid in February for the summer construction season, and the city would need to have direction from council on its configuration by the end of October to allow for the engineering work, Collinsworth said.

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