All those accidents finally are paying off.
While it's probably of little comfort to people involved in crashes at intersections along state Route 161 east of Interstate 71 over the years, those numbers have city officials undertaking safety improvements.
Reynaldo Stargell, administrator of the Traffic Management Division in the Columbus Department of Public Service, and Ryan Lowe, Traffic Engineering Section manager, gave a presentation on the issue for members of the Northland Community Council at its April 3 meeting.
They discussed what already has been done to make driving on East Dublin-Granville Road less hazardous, what's planned in the near future and possibilities under consideration for long-term solutions.
"There are several intersections that are experiencing crashes in the corridor that we really want to alleviate," Stargell said.
Between 2011 and 2013, Stargell said, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commis-sion tallies showed 726 crashes occurred at high-accident intersections in that stretch of Route 161.
Of those, 152 were at Cleveland Avenue and 137 at Maple Canyon Avenue.
MORPC's listing released in September 2016 of the top 40 intersections for accidents in Columbus ranked Maple Canyon Avenue third, Cleveland Avenue ninth and Karl Road 19th, according to the presentation.
There might even be more accidents, Stargell said, possible fender-benders that no one bothered to report.
Part of the reason for all those accidents, he said, is the system of collector-distributor roads to the north and south of that section of Route 161. While they reduce the possibility of rear-end crashes for vehicles slowing to turn into driveways, they greatly increase the "conflict points" where cars can have a close encounter of the crunch kind, Stargell said. The typical four-way intersection has 32 points of conflict, he said.
The presence of the service roads increases this to 96 at the East Dublin-Granville Road locations.
A long-term solution proposed for the problem, and one that still is being studied, involves what are called mini-roundabouts with raised medians along side streets, Lowe said.
Urban roundabouts "provide easy, legal means for performing a U-turn movement to access service roads," according to the presentation.
The roundabouts could be phased-in over time, allowing the city to tap different funding sources, Stargell said.
Short-term solutions already in place at Maple Canyon Avenue, Parkville Street and Sharon Woods Boulevard are "Do Not Block the Box" striping and right-turn-only rules between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Lowe said.
The striping was placed just before winter, so there hasn't been time to determine its effectiveness, Stargell said.
City officials are preparing an application, due this summer, to have the initial phase of the roundabout project included in MORPC's two-year funding cycle for construction projects, he said.
"As of right now, we don't know the timeline of the construction because we don't have the funding," Stargell said. "We feel we have a strong application."
MORPC officials will announce in the fall what projects will be funded.