Informal talks center on Powell’s Liberty-Carriage intersection
Informal discussions are underway regarding traffic flow and control measures around the intersection of Liberty and Carriage roads in Powell.
A task force – created in September as part of the city’s approval process for the annexation and rezoning of 9.4 acres at the northeast corner of Carriage and Liberty roads – includes developers and area residents as well as representatives of Powell, Liberty Township, Delaware County and Olentangy Local Schools.
The plan for Carriage Farms, a development of 23 single-family homes at the intersection, was opposed by area residents, including Amy Wilson, acting president of the Westchester Homeowners Association.
“Our main concern was and remains the density (of the development),” Wilson said. “(The city’s) planning and zoning commission required (the developers) to meet with us, and in doing so, we formed a rather large safety and traffic task force.”
Wilson, who lives on Carriage Road, called traffic in her neighborhood “a 30-year problem,” but said Carriage Farms – as well as the Carriage Cove condominium development at the northwest corner of Carriage and Liberty, approved in 2019 – add to residents’ concerns.
With Liberty Middle and Wyandot Elementary schools in the immediate area, traffic already is a challenge, particularly during drop-off and pick-up times, Wilson said.
“We can see the front door of Liberty Middle School from our house, but when my kids were in middle school, we didn’t feel it was safe for them to walk,” she said.
As a result of the Carriage Farms annexation, the majority of the intersection of Liberty and Carriage now is in Powell.
“The city of Powell will partner and work closely with the Delaware County Engineer’s Office to maintain the intersection and determine if improvements are necessary,” City spokeswoman Megan Canavan said.
Wilson said her concern is not solely the intersection.
“We’re working on a plan for long-term traffic-flow changes for the area, including the intersection,” she said.
She said the plan could include a traffic signal or roundabout at the intersection, as well as a reworking of the entrance to Liberty Middle School north of the intersection, but “nothing is set in stone” because the task force is only advisory in nature.
Still, Wilson said she believes remaining engaged with various government entities and the developer will help keep neighbors' concerns in front of decision-makers.
For example, Wilson said, she’s been able to meet with Lori Carter-Evans, Olentangy director of transportation, to discuss traffic backing up on both Carriage and Liberty roads during peak times.
District spokeswoman Amanda Beeman confirmed the meeting.
Liberty Township Administrator Mike Schuiling and Delaware County Deputy Development Engineer Michael Love also confirmed participation in the task force, which Love said “mainly involved big-picture concepts and did not result in any action items.”
“We’ve been very collaborative throughout the process, including on matters unrelated to our project,” said Chris Bradley of The Camber Company, representing Carriage Farms developer 3 Pillar Homes.
“We don’t feel our plan is real intense on traffic, but we realize there are some concerns about traffic in the area as it is today.”
Bradley called the task force discussions “ongoing and cooperative.”