With a new pile of public comments and suggestions, Powell leaders are preparing to make a decision on restricting left turns at the Four Corners intersection.
On June 18, the city's operations committee held a public forum at the Municipal Building to gather input from residents on restrictions at the congested crossroads of Olentangy and Liberty streets.
Operations committee Chairman and Powell City Councilman Brian Lorenz said he was "really pleased at the number of people who came in and participated," and said he and his colleagues have received plenty of comments and opinions from residents on the topic.
Now, he said, it's finally time to bring those comments to council and make a decision.
"As a committee, our charge is to gather all that information and to put together the best suggestion that benefits our community as a whole and run that up the flagpole to council," he said. "I think we probably all have the same ideas, but we really need to get together and talk about it, and that's what we'll do at next meeting."
City spokeswoman Megan Canavan said her department has heard plenty of feedback as well, both from the forum and beyond. She said she was happy to see the meeting room "pretty full" for the event, and said she has a dozen emails on the topic in her inbox.
"It certainly is something our community cares about," she said.
That participation alone, she said, is encouraging.
"That was really our call to action: to receive feedback from the community," she said. "We really do want to hear from residents and business owners about what to do at the Four Corners. We want to be sure it's beneficial to everybody involved."
Lorenz said a consensus couldn't be gleaned from the public comment, but said two opinions seem to be the most-frequently held.
"It really depends on how you utilize the intersection," he said. "I think there are two main schools of thought: one would be completely abandon (left turns) and the other would be to leave it as it is."
"As it is" means continuing to ban left turns from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays.
The city's police department already has weighed in on the topic. In October, former police Chief Gary Vest said he would "certainly encourage" the prohibition of left turns.
"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)."
But Lorenz said he wants to be sure the ultimate decision is "enforceable" in addition to beneficial to traffic flow. He also said he'd like to hear thoughts from Olentangy Local School District officials.
"The only thing I worry about are the schools and ... how it would affect their bus routes," he said. "I think it would be being a good political neighbor to give them as much of a heads-up as possible before school starts."
With only a few steps left in the process, Lorenz said he expects resolution within 60 days or so.
"It's sort of an issue that's never really gone away," he said. "Now that we have the construction complete at the intersection, now is the time for us to hash that out and make a decision."