ROUTE 224 Road receives poor marks for traffic record
Nine intersections along the congested corridor rated a D or worse.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The portion of U.S. Route 224 between Interstate 680 and state Route 11 has one of the highest crash rates in the state, says a preliminary study of that corridor.
"Several intersections within that area show up on the highway safety program list year after year," said Jennifer Richmond, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation's District 4 .
Between 2002 and 2004, 1,899 crashes occurred at intersections in that corridor. Most of those were rear-end crashes, and 30 percent involved injuries. Only two of those crashes involved fatalities, and both of those were near Market Street.
The study did not list the number of crashes at the individual intersections.
$1 million study
The information is part of a $1 million study of the Route 224 corridor from state Route 11 to Interstate 680. URS Consultants of Akron is conducting the study, which is being funded by Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and ODOT.
The study's goal is to find ways to alleviate traffic congestion on the road.
Eleven intersections along that section of Route 224 operate at the D level or lower on a scale of A to F.
Intersections in question
Those intersections are Fairground Boulevard, Raccoon Road, Tippecanoe Road, Glenwood Avenue, Hitchcock Road, Market Street, Southern Boulevard, West Boulevard, Applewood Boulevard, South Avenue and Tiffany Boulevard.
An A rating means no delay and an F rating stands for unstable flow or excessive delay. Delay takes into account driver discomfort, frustration, fuel consumption and travel time. The study says a rating of D or lower is considered unsatisfactory. The study does not give individual grades for the 11 intersections.
Tom Costello, a Boardman trustee, cautioned that whatever solution may be identified won't come to fruition soon. "There are very few quick fixes," he said.
The solution will be to address Route 224 problems for the next 15 to 20 years, Costello said.
Beyond about $4 million in the latest federal highway bill, there's no money expected to come for the corridor improvements over the next two years. That $4 million project is to upgrade the road from just west of Parkside Drive to just west of I-680.
Twelve-foot-wide right-turn lanes will be added from the Shops at Boardman Park to Tiffany Boulevard. The road also will be widened to provide dual eastbound left-turn lanes at South Avenue.
A meeting with business and property owners along the corridor is set for later this month to gather input and to try to make plans.
"They'll be asked to look into their crystal balls to see what 224 will be like five, 10, 15 years from now," Costello said.
Of the intersections that got poor grades, Market Street sees the highest number of vehicles, 4,947, pass through at peak afternoon hours, with most of those vehicles headed west on Route 224.
The next highest vehicle volume was at Tippecanoe with 4,743 vehicles, most of which were traveling east on Route 224. The Tiffany intersection also topped 4,000 vehicles, and most of that traffic headed east as well.
Of those intersections that rated a D or worse, only Fairground saw fewer than 3,000 vehicles travel through it during peak afternoon driving hours, the study found.
The grades took into account the number of vehicles, whether there were turning lanes and other data.
The company's study also found that traffic is expected to get worse in 25 years if nothing is done to deal with the problems.
Detailed information about the study may be viewed at www.mah224.com, which will be updated as the process continues.