Safety issues raised



Trustees want to see if the proposals have worked elsewhere.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Township trustees want examples of how some of the proposed alternatives for U.S. Route 224 work before they sign off on them.
"The tunnel proposed at [state Route] 7 and U.S. 224 is something we were not happy with," said Trustee Elaine Mancini.
She is concerned, for example, with how a firetruck or police car would maneuver through the tunnel if all lanes are filled.
"We want to see something that is already in existence and see how it works," Mancini said.
The tunnel, or underpass, at the intersection is one of four conceptual alternatives presented through a $1 million study of the U.S. 224 corridor by URS Consultants of Akron. The Ohio Department of Transportation and Eastgate Regional Council of Governments funded the study.
The other alternatives include roads that snake behind Route 224 businesses, feeding into rear parking lots, medians with greenery down the middle of the road and restructuring of off- and on-ramps of Interstate 680.
Robyn Gallitto, trustee chairwoman, said the fire and road departments expressed concerns about the medians down the middle of the road.
"The fire chief's concern was access," Gallitto said. "Would he have to go past a call and make a U-turn?"
The road department was concerned about maintenance issues such as how the greenery within the medians will be maintained and by whom and how often, she said.
"We were glad that they gave us alternatives and happy to have options, but this is new, and we haven't seen it," Gallitto said. "We just want to see how they work in a place that's similar to us."
Other regions' approaches
Bill Barlow, program manager at Eastgate, said he has asked URS to locate places where underpasses and other mechanisms proposed are working. Those then will be shown to trustees.
Trustee Kathy Miller liked some of the elements included in the alternatives such as green space as part of the medians and the restructuring of Interstate 680 on- and off-ramps at Route 224.
Miller said she views the alternatives as better than just additional lanes.
"The idea is to reduce accidents and reduce congestion," she said. "If the only other alternative is it becoming six lanes of traffic, I certainly don't want to see that."
Barlow plans a meeting with Canfield trustees to present the ideas and gather their feedback.
He hopes to get both communities to adopt the U.S. 224 plan as part of the individual communities' comprehensive plans.
Boardman is just beginning the process to develop such a plan, but Canfield talked about a comprehensive plan a couple of years ago.
"It shows how important it is for the whole corridor to have a comprehensive plan and for them to all fit together," Miller said.
The goals of the URS study, begun in November 2004, included reducing congestion, improving safety, preserving the corridor's economic viability, reducing vehicle use within the corridor, educating drivers and making the corridor environmentally friendly.

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