A long-simmering proposal to ban left turns at Powell's central intersection soon will be debated by City Council.

At its February meeting, the city's operations committee discussed the idea of banning left turns entirely at the intersection of Olentangy and Liberty streets, known as the Four Corners.

Left turns at the intersection are prohibited between 4 and 7 p.m. weekdays because the stop in traffic flow can severely back up traffic during peak hours.

In September and October, Powell police held three "targeted traffic enforcements" at the Four Corners, writing more than 30 tickets over the three days.

Now, with functional alternate routes on Murphy Parkway, Bennett Parkway and Grace Drive -- which has a newly operational traffic light at Liberty Street -- operations committee chairman and Councilman Brian Lorenz said the city is ready to move forward with the broader ban on left turns.

"We've got the infrastructure in place and people are familiar with it, and we've got the signage in place," he said.

The operations committee includes council members, City Manager Steve Lutz and residents.

Lorenz said there was no disagreement on the idea of restricting left turns, which he said would conform with the city's Keep Powell Moving plan, developed in 2016.

"All the members were on the same page with that," he said. "They see the value in keeping traffic flowing in and around the city. It's part of our Keep Powell Moving initiative."

The idea also would have the support of Powell police Chief Gary Vest.

In October, Vest said he would "certainly encourage" the change.

"I think it would be easier for motorists and for people to get used to the alternate routes," he 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)."

Lorenz said the focus will move to community outreach for the time being. No timetable is set on when the topic will go to council.

He said the residents and business owners he's spoken to "seem to be in favor of it," but he knows more work needs to be done.

"I think we want to do some more-thorough follow-up with them," he said. "The biggest issue is getting participation and getting people to come and talk to us. I could foresee us doing maybe an open house or a Q&A to focus on that with some of us from the committee and council."

The group also has yet to decide whether to fully ban left turns or simply extend the current prohibited hours.

"I think we would restrict it completely," Lorenz said, "but I do feel, from my own observations as well, that we need to extend the hours at minimum -- particularly in the afternoon, because it's kind of a mess."

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