The typical four-way intersection of two-lane roads has 32 "conflict points," meaning places where vehicles cross, diverge or merge.
The system of service roads along East Dublin-Granville Road between Cleveland Avenue and Interstate 71 ups that number to 96, Steve Schmidt, a project manager with the Columbus Department of Public Service, told members of the Northland Area Business Association.
It's small wonder, then, that year in and year out, several of the intersections on that major road in the Northland area rank high in the listing of central Ohio traffic accidents maintained by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, according to George Schmidt, chairman of NABA's 161 Task Force.
Steve Schmidt, no relation to George, was the guest speaker at the organization's June 13 luncheon. He provided an update on a safety study conducted by department personnel, including solutions that were rejected, long-range tactics still in the running and the two projects that will be established this summer.
Among the approaches studied but set aside as too costly or not likely to sufficiently increase safety, Schmidt said, were ones that would have made the access roads one-way streets in the opposite direction from traffic on state Route 161, cul-de-sacs created for the access roads, and side streets with roundabouts.
Some in the audience groaned at the mention of that last traffic pattern.
"It's probably the most polarizing improvement we have in transportation," Schmidt acknowledged, adding that people seem to really like roundabouts or really, really dislike them.
The safety enhancements that motorists who use East Dublin-Granville Road may see in the near future, he said, will involve changes to four intersections.
One will be the addition of a traffic signal to stop southbound vehicles at the Cleveland Avenue north service road intersection.
This also will involve removing a portion of the concrete medians currently at the intersection.
Ohio Department of Transportation officials have approved a $340,000 safety grant for the project and design will start soon, according to a report on the city's website.
The other safety projects involve possible "do not block the box" markings at the East Dublin-Granville Road intersections with Maple Canyon Avenue, Sharon Woods Boulevard and Parkville Roads.
Kevin Kidder, community relations coordinator for the Department of Public Service, said in a June 15 email this work would be completed by city crews at a cost of approximately $1,500 per application.
Striping and signs at those service roads would advise drivers not to enter these intersections unless they are able to get all the way across.
Further study will be needed to determine if these candidates for the safety effort will work, Schmidt told NABA members.
For the long term, he said various alternatives will be considered until preferred ones are identified; after that, funding sources will be sought for the necessary engineering and environmental work, a process that could take three to four years.
George Schmidt pointed out that traffic accidents at the high-incidence intersections cost those involved and the city millions of dollars.
"Wouldn't that prompt a little quicker action?" he asked.
"It's not going to be an easy fix," NABA President Dave Cooper said.