Traffic worries and woes, both existing and anticipated, consistently are part of the conversation when development matters come before the Northwest Civic Association board of trustees.
"Some people are already having trouble getting out of their neighborhood in the morning," said Marilyn Goodman, chairwoman of the graphics and zoning committee. "That's a real quality-of-life issue."
To help address that issue, members of the board recently decided during what Goodman called a "mini-retreat" hosted by President Nick Cipiti in his residence to create a new traffic subcommittee as part of the graphics and zoning committee.
"The board met informally a few weeks ago to catch up on some housekeeping items and discuss new ideas," Cipiti wrote in an email. "The idea for a traffic committee as a subcommittee of zoning was discussed and accepted.
"Traffic is an issue with almost every proposal that we hear," Cipiti wrote. "The city relies on traffic studies that are old and don't always include the effects from recent projects and developments. We have attempted to discuss the problem with them but had no luck. Our goal is to work the city and ODOT to let them know where traffic is a problem and get more meaningful traffic studies.
"Residents need to have realistic expectations of the effects of a proposal so they can let the NWCA board know which way to go."
Kit Logsdon, a member of the graphics and zoning committee and chairwoman of the parks and recreation committee, has agreed to head up the new panel.
"Our first obligation is to see what the plans are for the city and the county and the state, get ahold of their 10-year plan and see where they are in that plan," Logsdon said, "then get a look at where bottlenecks are and where they are likely to happen."
"What can we really do?" she said.
"We can't prevent people from selling their property to developers and you can't tell developers you can't develop the property because it will mean too many cars."
"It's just trying to bring the force of the board and maybe also of our members to put some weight behind traffic issues that we see already exist and will exist," Goodman said.
"Being on the zoning committee, I'm trying to help developers zone it the best way to help the housing needs of people ... but as a resident, I also have to look at what the impact is going to be on the community that is there now," Logsdon said.
"It is a real conundrum how to meet both goals."
Logsdon noted that because northwest Columbus serves as a sort of crossroads and pipeline to neighboring cities, notably Dublin, Hilliard, Powell and Worthington, traffic generated by development over which the board of trustees has no sway also affects the streets in the neighborhood.
"As they develop, we get the residual that we can't plan for because we're not part of the planning process," Logsdon said.
The chairwoman of the new subcommittee said residents interested in joining the traffic group can do so on the NWCA's website, https://northwestcivic.org/.