It might seem like a roundabout way to resolve safety issues on East Dublin-Granville Road, but roundabouts are coming to some of the more problematic intersections.
Intersections along the main Northland corridor continually rank high on the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission's list of accident locations.
A study to address the problem concluded that the second of three alternatives, one featuring medians on side streets with roundabouts, would best address the situation.
It's not sitting well with some community leaders.
"That's an understatement of the year," Northland Area Business Association President Dave Cooper said.
"It's going to be total gridlock," predicted George Schmidt, chairman of NABA's 161 Task Force. "No one's going to be able to move. The people who live in the neighborhoods don't want it. They don't want the roundabouts on those streets."
Both men are particularly troubled at the prospect of a roundabout proposed for Maple Canyon Avenue south of the intersection with East Dublin-Granville Road.
"It would block school buses, block traffic," Cooper said. "The roundabout would just destroy it."
The issue came up at the Northland Community Council's meeting Nov. 7. President Emmanuel V. Remy said the roundabout approach was the "solution the community would like the least."
"At first glance, it doesn't look like a very favorable thing as the community sees it," he added.
"We have to have a dialogue," Schmidt said at the meeting.
On Nov. 14, Schmidt said the dialogue had taken place, but city officials are adamant.
"There's no recourse," Schmidt said. "There's no reversing. This is what they're doing. They don't care if I get 3,000 signatures on a petition."
"I am reaching out to traffic (officials) to get a better understanding of the rationale behind the roundabouts," Remy said. "Roundabouts are known to reduce conflict points at intersections and provide a better way of processing traffic, even over traditional traffic lights."
Some motorists, however, are leery of the traffic configuration, he pointed out.
"I want to sit down and talk about the pluses and minuses," Remy said. "At the end of the day, we'll evaluate if we can support that.
"I'm not under the illusion that we can change the outcome. I'll be interested to see how they'll incorporate those so near a major thoroughfare like (state Route) 161."
In an Oct. 20 letter to participants at an open house that kicked off the safety study, Columbus Division of Design and Construction Administrator James D. Young outlined the reasons the second of three proposed safety improvements was chosen by city staff members and consultants.
"The project improvements can more easily be constructed using a phased approach," he wrote. "A phased approach allows for multiple funding alternatives that provide the city with maximum flexibility for implementing the project improvements."
Young noted that roundabouts, the exact location of which are to be determined in the next step in the process, reduce conflicts between motorists and pedestrians or bicycle riders and, unlike another of the possible solutions, doesn't make it more difficult for customers to reach businesses in the corridor.
The proposed roundabouts are what the website of the National Association of City Transportation Offices calls "neighborhood traffic circles." The site refers to them as "an ideal treatment for uncontrolled intersections."