East North Broadway residents believe the war is won, and the symbols around the trees in front of their homes that they feared would be removed are no longer needed.

The green ribbons are gone.

East North Broadway residents believe the war is won, and the symbols around the trees in front of their homes that they feared would be removed are no longer needed.

Although he indicated that he believes a left-turn lane at East North Broadway and North High Street "would improve the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood," Mayor Michael Coleman nonetheless last week tossed the controversial issue back into the laps of Clintonville Area Commission members.

"(Coleman) believes it to be a Clintonville issue rather than a citywide issue, and that it's up to Clintonville residents to control it," CAC chairman John DeFourny said.

"Mayor Coleman has agreed to let the intersection at Broadway and High remain as it has for the last 60 years," East North Broadway Street Association president Carole W. Tomko wrote in an email reacting to the news.

In a memo sent last week to Department of Public Service director Mark Kelsey and Department of Development director Boyce Safford, Coleman outlined how for about three decades, the "prohibition of southbound turns from East North Broadway onto North High Street has led to increased traffic through neighborhoods and much debate about how to address it." He discussed how the area commission in August 2009 voted 5-4 in favor of the turn lane, only to reverse that position in September 2010 with a change in the advisory panel's makeup.

"A lack of neighborhood consensus regarding this project led me late last year to thoroughly review it myself to determine the appropriate course of action for the city of Columbus," the mayor wrote. "Having now studied this issue thoroughly, it is clear to me that a left-hand turn lane from East North Broadway Street would improve the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood by reducing traffic through the neighborhoods and increasing the prospects for commercial development at the southwest comer of the intersection. It is for these reasons that I support the left-hand turn lane. However, the CAC, the elected body representing Clintonville, opposes the left-hand turn lane. While I disagree with its position, the CAC has chosen on behalf of its residents to live with these traffic conditions. As this is not a health, safety or welfare concern, I will respect its decision."

"Which is a good clear message," DeFourny commented.

"There will be times when, despite opposition from a neighborhood area commission, we will need to proceed with a capital project in order to protect our residents or advance our city," the Coleman memo continued. "This proposal does not meet that test. After examining all available data since 2008, our Department of Public Service has determined that North Broadway at High Street is not an unsafe intersection. There is no pattern of accidents caused by the increased neighborhood traffic, and there are not an unusual number of accidents at the intersection itself."

DeFourny indicated it now would take yet another CAC vote, which he doesn't see coming anytime soon, to bring the issue back up.

Not so fast, says former District 1 commission representative Mike McLaughlin, who was chairman of the task force that recommended the turn lane when it was first narrowly approved by the CAC.

"I'm not sure what the vote would be today on the CAC, since there are two commissioners, from District 1 and District 2, who to my knowledge have never publicly stated their position on this topic," McLaughlin wrote in an email to residents of south Clintonville and members of United Crestview Area Neighbors. "Now that the press has this story, I hope we will all find out very soon. If you sympathize with your neighbors to the north, there are a couple things you can do. First, if you don't know your current commissioner's position, ask. Second, contact those commissioners who are holding the community back by opposing this solution, and urge them to support it. Those commissioners are (James R.) Blazer, (Nick) Cipiti, (Dave) Southan, (Jennifer) Kangas and DeFourny; contact information can be found at http://clintonvilleareacommission.org/. Third, commissioners Cipiti and Southan are up for election in May. Without having to obtain any signatures on a petition, write-in candidates in their districts can run for their seats simply by filing a notice of candidacy by Friday, April 6.

"As the mayor wrote, this turn lane makes sense, it is needed and it should be built," McLaughlin wrote in conclusion. "Any further attempt by the CAC to keep the project from going forward just keeps this issue alive. Aren't we all sick and tired of this bone of contention in our community? The obstacle to achieving a safer, more pleasant neighborhood is that small group of commissioners who meet at the Whetstone Library the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m."

"We are grateful to the community for its steadfast support of the preservation of this historic street and for the tireless efforts of the many volunteers who have worked so hard to preserve and protect this neighborhood treasure," Tomko wrote in her email. "We are thankful to Mayor Coleman, his staff and city council for demonstrating their open-mindedness and willingness to hear the voices of the entire community of Clintonville."

Tomko said the green ribbons, which East North Broadway residents had wrapped around trees great distances from the proposed 100-foot widening to construct the turn lane, had been removed after three and a half years. They had been in place to express fears that the turn lane would only be the first step in the slippery slope toward an overall widening project that would have resulted in removal of numerous trees.

This was never in the cards, according to Coleman's memo.

"I also want to state my firm opposition to any proposal to widen East North Broadway," he wrote. "As long as I am mayor, East North Broadway will not be widened beyond that needed to install the turn lane at High Street.

"From the calls, emails and petitions my office has received, I know many Clintonville residents support a left-hand turn lane on East North Broadway, and I agree with them. It is incumbent upon these residents either to bring their neighborhood area commissioners around to their point of view or elect new commissioners who share their position."