Northland Community Council representatives conducted a postmortem last week on a presentation regarding a safety study for a stretch of East Dublin-Granville Road.
While the neighborhood leaders are pleased to see state Route 161 between Interstate 71 and Cleveland Avenue receive attention, they are uncertain what direction the work eventually will take.
“I think we’ll be hearing a lot more about it,” said Dave Paul, chairman of the NCC’s development committee, during the council’s May 2 session. “I was just encouraged to know they’re giving it some serious thought.”
The presentation took place April 27 at the office of DLZ Corp., a consulting firm in the architectural, engineering and surveying industry.
The city of Columbus and the Ohio Department of Transportation District 6 collaborated to study possible safety improvements to Route 161 between Interstate 71 and Cleveland Avenue and adjoining service roads. The study focused on identifying specific crash patterns and generating potential countermeasures to increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
Four intersections in the project limits have been on the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s top 40 crash list over the past 10 years.
Some of the proposals were short-term alternatives while others would take longer, Paul said. These include closing some of the mid-intersection curb cuts to the service roads on either side of Route 161 and the addition of multiuse paths, he said.
“We have to be patient,” said Dave Cooper, president of the Northland Area Business Association. “We just have to keep feeding them information.”
Some of the simpler proposals could be implemented in the next two to three years, NCC Vice President Alicia Ward said. More-complex solutions might not happen for 10 to 20 years, she said.
“I saw some things to like and I saw some things to scratch my head about,” said Ken Gilbert, the Forest Park Civic Association representative on the NCC.
The recommendations presented included:
• Alternative 1 – contra flow with medians on the side streets: The contra flow concept is centered on modifying service roads to operate one-way only. The traffic flow is described as “contra flow” because the service road is one-way opposite the direction of the adjacent travel lanes on Route 161. Medians would be installed along the center line of the side streets to prevent through movements and left turns at the intersection of the service road and the side streets.
The remaining pavement along the service roads, no longer necessary for vehicular travel, would be converted to a multiuse path for pedestrians and cyclists. The path would be separated by a vertical divider. To access businesses along the service roads, right-in/right-outs would be installed along Route 161 approximately between intersections with signals. All signals within the project area would be replaced.
• Alternative 2 – medians on side streets with roundabouts: This concept includes medians along side streets to prevent through movements and left turns at the intersection of the service road and the side streets. The service roads would remain two-way. To access businesses along the service road, urban roundabouts would be installed north and south of the medians along the side streets. These roundabouts would provide an opportunity to make legal U-turns to access service roads that would otherwise be inaccessible from the side streets due to the median installation. Sidewalk and/or multiuse paths would be installed along both sides of the roadway. All traffic signals within the project area would be replaced.
• Alternative 3 – traditional arterial: This concept consists of removing the service road intersections with the side streets and installing a combination of dedicated and shared driveways to businesses along Route 161. At select locations, left-turn lanes would be installed where space and traffic flow allows. This concept includes a proposed reduction of the speed limit. The speed-limit change would require study and evaluation by the city of Columbus and the Ohio Department of Transportation. Sidewalks and/or a multiuse path would be installed along both sides of the roadway. All traffic signals within the project area would be replaced.
An online survey on the city website (www.Columbus.gov) is being conducted through May 31 regarding the proposals.