The prevalence and efficiency of roundabouts has been a hot topic of debate at both City Hall and coffee shops in Hilliard.
Residents now have the opportunity to share their opinions directly with city leaders at a public meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at the Phyllis A. Ernst Senior Center, 3810 Veterans Memorial Drive.
The meeting is an early step in a study of the city's three most accident-prone roundabouts, as determined by a recent report from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
City Council members approved the $160,000 study by Columbus engineering firm Burgess & Niple by a 4-2 vote March 27.
The decision to hire Burgess & Niple created controversy because some City Council members -- namely Les Carrier and Joe Erb, who voted against the contract -- opposed hiring the same company that more than a decade ago designed, planned and constructed renovations to the area locally known as "the Triangle," according to deputy city engineer Letty Schamp.
The back-to-back roundabouts on Main Street at Cemetery and Scioto Darby roads are two of the three accident-prone traffic circles named in the MORPC study. The other is at Davidson Road and Britton Parkway.
The contract authorized $120,000 for the study and $40,000 for any unanticipated general-engineering services that require staff approval, Schamp said.
Although the study focuses on the accident-prone roundabouts, city officials want to hear from motorists about all the city's roundabouts, too.
"We want to hear our residents and members of our business community ... to find out about their experiences using all roundabouts, but particularly these larger, multilane ones," Schamp said. "This is a vital part of the study as we review the roundabouts and consider recommendations and changes to them."
In addition to gathering public feedback, Burgess & Niple will analyze the roundabouts and send a report to Wisconsin-based MSA Professional Services.
Staff members at MSA and Burgess & Niple independently will make recommendations concerning the roundabouts, and a second public meeting will be scheduled to share preliminary recommendations, Schamp said.
Final recommendations are expected by the end of September, she said.
The April 26 meeting will begin with a short presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.
The rest of the meeting will be conducted as an open house in which residents can have individual discussions with members of the study team, Schamp said.
The study is meant to reduce the number of reported crashes at three intersections, she said.
The MORPC report released in July 2016 showed that the roundabout at Main Street and Cemetery Road had 233 accidents, the most in Hilliard from 2013 to 2015. It was followed by Main Street and Scioto Darby Road (141) and Davidson Road and Britton Parkway (72).