REGIONAL CHAMBER Route 224 traffic solutions discussed

Some simple solutions might help traffic flow along the busy highway.
BOARDMAN -- Traffic along Route 224 could be greatly improved by a few simple ideas.
Boardman trustee Thomas Costello shared those ideas Friday morning at the Regional Chamber's "Good Morning Boardman" program. About 150 people attended the meeting, which featured reports by Costello, Boardman Police Chief Jeff Patterson and Boardman schools Superintendent Frank Lazzeri.
Costello reported on progress of a $1 million study of Route 224 from Interstate 680 to state Route 11. The township is working with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Eastgate Council of Governments to come up with ways to keep traffic flowing more easily on the busy highway, which Costello called "the lifeblood of Mahoning County."
The committee is looking at similar roads across the state for traffic flow solutions, Costello said.
One simple idea they found came from Anderson Township, near Cincinnati. In that community, 3-foot-by-3-foot signs at intersections announce the street numbers for the next block.
Costello showed a photograph of a large sign with bold numbers, explaining that such signs along 224 would aid traffic flow.
"Now, you've got cars looking for a certain address and they're not sure where it is, so they get in the slow lane, and they're looking for that number. That slows down a lot of traffic."
"We don't need to re-invent the wheel," Costello said. "This could work for us."
Freeing up the road
Another idea to aid traffic flow, Costello said, would be the creation of a "service road environment" where business parking lots are open to each other, and drivers don't have to pull out off and onto 224 as often. Currently, many businesses along 224 have barricades that prevent parking lots from flowing into each other.
When asked if the township would pay for barricades to be removed, Costello said that township dollars cannot be used to pay for improvements on private property.
"As a government we cannot force them to connect their parking lots," Costello said. "We can ask."
Costello also talked about a partnership with Western Reserve Transit Authority to create a park-and-ride shuttle that would make a loop from Market Street to McClurg Road to South Avenue to Route 224.
Such an arrangement would allow drivers to park in one place and visit others, without start-and-stop driving.
"There's a lot of potential there," Costello said.
Spreading problem
Boardman's growing population was part of Patterson's report as well.
Violent crime from Youngstown may be creeping into Boardman, the chief said. Boardman is half the size of Youngstown, but has one-tenth the crime, he said. However, that may be changing.
"The bad news for us is that they're moving into Boardman," Patterson said. "The players are out there. It's coming this way. It's my biggest concern right now."
Boardman has 69 sworn officers, with about seven to 10 patrol cars on the street per shift, Patterson said. He would like to have 85 officers, he said.
"Right now, we can put a full team on the field, but we have no bench," Patterson said. "But we always ask for more. They teach us that in police chief school."

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