While Powell police continue to heavily enforce the ban on left turns during a three-hour span most days at the corner of Olentangy and Liberty streets, city leaders expect to prohibit left turns entirely at the intersection at some point.
Left turns currently are illegal at the Four Corners intersection between 4 and 7 p.m. weekdays.
Despite prominent signs and public conversation, however, Powell drivers continue to block traffic while turning left during the busiest time of the day.
The continued turns prompted a series of enforcement blitzes that began Sept. 25 and continued Oct. 4.
Over the two days during which officers were actively stopping anyone they saw turning left illegally, about 25 tickets were written in addition to a handful of warnings.
Those tickets cost each driver $135.
Police Chief Gary Vest said he wasn't surprised by the number of drivers caught and said with more officers available, it would have been even higher. For officers patrolling the intersection in that area, he said, it's not safe to pull over multiple vehicles at once.
"It's probably what I expected," he said. "The problem that we have, because the situation is bad, is that even with multiple officers out there covering different directions, people still made left turns who probably got through."
Vest said he's hoping to see numbers begin to decrease and said the department has seen some "positive" feedback on social media.
He said he wasn't sure whether Powell residents or out-of-town drivers were the more common culprits of the illegal left turns.
"I think it's probably a little bit of a mix," he said. "It may be a little more out of town, primarily because people follow their GPS instead of looking at signs, and that's a problem no matter where you go."
One common fix suggested by Powell residents, particularly on social media, has been to ban left turns entirely at the intersection rather than only restricting them between 4 and 7 p.m.
While that decision isn't Vest's to make, he said he would "certainly encourage" it, especially given the completion of Bennett Parkway to the southeast, Grace Drive to the northeast and Murphy Parkway to the southwest of the intersection.
"I think it would be easier for motorists and for people to get used to the alternate routes," Vest said. "It may not be applicable at midnight, so if it was a daytime thing from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. or something (it would be fine). But people are used to making a left turn there -- and if there's anything else on their mind, they're likely to make the turn (in the afternoon)."
City Manager Steve Lutz said a full left-turn ban isn't a new idea to city leadership
He said when the traffic light is finished at Grace Drive and Liberty Street to the north of the intersection, the conversation likely will return to council.
"The city has discussed that, and I think the desire of the city is to prohibit the turning movements 24/7," he said. "What we're doing is waiting until the new traffic signal is installed and operational on North Liberty Street and Grace Drive, the reason being that once turning movements are prohibited, there will be a lot more activity at North Liberty and Grace Drive, and the new traffic signal will facilitate that movement."
Lutz said prohibiting left turns was a recommendation from the city's Keep Powell Moving initiative. He said research suggested the change could "help facilitate traffic flow" for the city's most congested route.
When the traffic signal is "up and running," likely by the end of 2018 or early 2019, Lutz said council will "most likely have the discussion on prohibiting the turn at all times."
The change would require a City Council ordinance, which would provide time for public input and comment from residents.
In the meantime, Vest said he's still hoping to decrease the number of illegal left turns and added he would like people to begin to think about their fellow drivers and take alternate routes.
"It's as much of a problem for the people traveling through town and getting stuck behind traffic as it is for us in enforcement," he said.