After a series of targeted ticketing enforcements at Powell's busiest intersection, Powell police believe they're seeing a slight decline in the illegal left turns they're trying to stop.
In September and October, Powell police held three "targeted traffic enforcements" at the intersection of Liberty and Olentangy streets known as the Four Corners.
Left turns are prohibited at the intersection between 4 and 7 p.m. weekdays, and police Chief Gary Vest said he hoped ticketing would help show the city was serious about enforcing the rule. Those who ignore it have become a main contributor to Powell's notoriously congested roadways, he said.
The enforcement periods yielded more than 30 tickets, along with a handful of warnings, and numbers started to dwindle by the third occurrence, Vest said.
Those tickets cost drivers $135 apiece.
Vest said while the situation isn't perfect, another targeted enforcement isn't in the plans.
"We think it's improved," he said. "The officers have still been hitting it randomly during that time, but we're not anticipating another blitz at this stage."
Between the enforcement periods and a new traffic light being installed at Liberty and Grace Drive -- a project expected to wrap up in late 2018 or early 2019 -- Vest said he thinks drivers will continue to be more aware of the alternatives to illegal left turns.
"We're hoping that when the work is done there at Liberty and Grace, we'll have a little more signage up as a result of that," he said. "We're optimistic those things will continue to help."
Vest knows that information isn't the only problem, however.
Though most of the drivers stopped in the enforcement blitzes weren't Powell residents, Vest said, it's unlikely that people are driving through the area with no knowledge of where they are or what the laws are.
"The majority of the stops, slightly, was probably people passing through the area," he said, "but realistically, even if they're coming from out of the area and they're making a turning motion at that intersection, there's probably some relatively local destination. There are easier paths to get places."
That tendency to break the rules even when drivers are aware of them is a contributing factor in the possibility of the city prohibiting left turns entirely, rather than just during rush hour.
In October, Vest said he'd support the change, and City Manager Steve Lutz said it's a strong possibility.
"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."
In the meantime, Vest said he wants drivers to show each other a bit of empathy and avoid congesting the entire area with left turns.
"Hopefully, out of courtesy to other motorists, they'll try to be kind to other people -- even if police aren't around," he said.