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A road less traveled ...



Published: Sun, June 23, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)


It’s odd how we can become prisoners to our patterns.

I’m a prisoner to the I-680/U.S. 224 intersection. And oftentimes I feel like I’d rather be waterboarded.

So I’m pretty giddy — oddly enough — for the construction nightmare that’s about to happen to my tortured turn-off. Or is it a turn-on?

Starting soon (“Late July” is as good as a horseshoes-close date as we get from ODOT) will be a project that will address many issues with that area, and with my torture.

1) I enter northbound I-680 from Poland (search “Perfect” in Google, and a town photo pops up). The ramp sits just feet away from a westbound U.S. 224 stoplight.

Feet, I said. ... Yet you cannot turn right onto 680.

Not “after stopping.” Not “with caution.” Not “when clear of oncoming traffic.”

Just 3,000 feet behind you is the craziest right-on-red known to man in the middle of downtown Perfect — turning north onto Ohio 170.

Why not onto 680 north, I don’t understand. Yes, there is a 680 off-ramp right there, which gets traffic — during Christmas season. So you sit ... and play Words With Friends on your phone ... till the green light.

This will now be fixed.

Now, westbound 224 traffic that just left Perfect will now be able to enter northbound 680 unimpeded. Great for gas mileage; bad for Words With Friends.

2) Traffic getting off 680 from downtown headed westbound on 224 will now have more room and time to navigate. A stoplight will control traffic, and a new lane leading traffic directly to north Tiffany Boulevard will have dramatic effect.

In the past, I’ve felt like Mario trying to find space, time and courage to make it from that ramp, across 224, to south Tiffany Boulevard.

More than once, my car has been pointing south on U.S. 224 — a position more commonly seen with drunks and those escaping Walmart security.

3) This issue apparently won’t be addressed:

There is no stop sign when exiting 680 from downtown to head into Perfect — or as commoners call it, eastbound 224. Yet people stop. And stop. And stop.

Do you know there are 77 road signs on the 1.25-mile long Walker Mill Road? Can we steal just two, and put up “merge with traffic” signs at the top of that ramp so that cars proceed nicely and mesh like gears?

There are many beautiful things in life: A pay raise, four fingers of Southern Comfort on ice, any person named “Mrs. Franko” (obligated line, there) ... and 680 traffic that merges like shuffled cards onto eastbound 224.

Alas, the two-year fix about to start in July will not address item No. 3. But as Meatloaf sang, two out of three ain’t bad.

So how to skip the madness is simple:

I plan to use Poland and Wilson avenues into downtown — Poland when in a hurry, and Wilson when I’m feeling frisky.

Mathews Road will become my friend.

The landmine that is Walker Mill already is my friend, and will stay that way until they tear up that thing later this summer, says reporter Pete Milliken.

So all of this has me awaiting my next most eagerly anticipated road projects.

I can’t wait to see the Mathews Road roundabout/traffic rotary. I hated the idea three years ago. Then after driving in Dublin, Ohio, and Dublin, Ireland — color me a convert.

I’m such a convert, I want to see a roundabout/rotary at “5 Corners” on Western Reserve Road.

I want Western Reserve Road in Canfield to be 40 or 45 mph, not 35, and eliminate the speed trap that those townships feed off of.

I can’t wait for Walker Mill to get its makeover. Perhaps an improved road will allow them to take down 20-30 road signs along the curvy one mile.

Email me some of the road issues that you want to see changed.

All this wisdom, you’d think I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Nope. I just reside in Perfect.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at tfranko@vindy.com. He blogs, too, on vindy.com. Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.


Comments

1kurtw(876 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

I travel that area all the time and I hear people complain about it all the time- and I really don't understand what the beef is all about.

I get through it just fine my temper- and the fender of my vehicle, thank you- perfectly intact. Want to know how, what my secret is?

Patience. I slow down. Put on the radio, listen to music, count my own breathing- whatever.

It's all psychological, the rushed feeling most of us have most of the time anyway- doesn't exist except in our own skull.

One approach, I have found helpful is Zen Meditation- works wonders. I think it should be part of Drivers Ed. Classes in high school- would prevent a lot of accidents as well as Peptic Ulcers. I repeat a single syllable: OOM over and over again- pretty soon you're in a different, and better Universe- as E.E. Cummings said: "Come on, let's go, there's a Hell of a Better Universe Next Door."

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