Powell police plan to increase ticketing at the city's most notoriously busy intersection.
Police Chief Gary Vest said Powell officers will stop giving warnings and have begun issuing tickets when they see drivers attempting to turn left at the corner of Olentangy and Liberty streets between 4 and 7 p.m. weekdays.
Left turns have been prohibited at the Four Corners intersection during those times for more than a year, but Vest said motorists don't always obey the laws, leaving "extremely frustrated" drivers stuck behind them.
"We've done a lot of initiatives and have given a lot of warnings to motorists, but we're finding the number of violations still remains quite high," Vest said. "Whether we're getting new folks to the area or it's residents, they're not necessarily repeat offenders, but it's still creating a problem."
Vest said the city is calling the initiative Keep Powell Moving.
He compared the new focus to a sobriety checkpoint. He said he would prefer to change behaviors rather than write tickets, but if writing tickets is the only way, it's a necessary evil.
The ticket for making a left turn at the intersection between 4 and 7 p.m. weekdays will run a motorist $135.
"This is not about the money; it's about getting compliance," he said. "The process we've been doing doesn't seem to be reducing the number of people making left turns, so we have to try another strategy, because during those times, it's extremely important."
Aside from enforcement, city Engineer Chris Huber said Powell has limited options for improving traffic flow at the intersection.
He said the city has conducted studies showing alternate routes and additional left-turn options in other areas are the only real ways to make an impact.
Huber said some bypass roads have made "some good impacts," including Murphy Parkway, which is where Vest hopes some people will turn rather than at the Four Corners.
"Murphy Parkway has really helped that situation," Huber said.
Vest said his department is even using drones to film the intersection from the sky.
He said he hopes to show residents and drivers the issues that are caused each time a vehicle attempts to turn left and backs up traffic.
"We have a camera at the intersection, but from that angle at the Four Corners, you can't see much," he said. "We're trying to let the public see what we see."
Vest said his aim is to get drivers into the habit of using Murphy Parkway or Grace Drive to make left turns "as a courtesy." He said he hopes people making left turns that slow down traffic understand it's an inconvenience to many other drivers.
"The traffic flow becomes a very frustrating time at the end of a person's workday, especially to come into Powell and find themselves sitting at a light when only one or two people get through," he said.