Safer Walking, Riding, and Driving in Harrison West

Harrison West CrosswalksYou may have noticed a number of traffic calming initiatives occurring throughout Harrison West. With the new developments taking shape across Olentangy River Road and in the surrounding areas, we will continue to see an increase in motorized traffic throughout the neighborhood. These traffic calming measures are designed to help reduce the speed of traffic and increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Some of these initiatives have been discussed with city officials at recent Harrison West Society meetings and other suggestions have been proposed by local residents.

Just recently the city painted crosswalks on West Third Avenue at Perry Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and on West First Avenue at Harrison Avenue. The improvements at West Third and Perry include pedestrian crossing paddles installed on the road and “cross traffic does not stop” signs on Perry.

Here’s a recap of discussions and improvements still to be completed:

1. Traffic-Calming Measures on West First Avenue between Neil Avenue and Harrison Park Place

  • Traffic calming was discussed when Division of Traffic Management staff attended regular meetings of the Harrison West Society on July 16, 2014 and September 17, 2014.
  • Resulting from these meetings, staff proposed that traffic calming on West First be addressed by striping the parking lanes between Harrison Park and Neil. The Harrison West Society voted to approve the implementation of this recommendation on October 15, 2014. Similar striping was also approved on West Third, Perry and Neil.
  • A handout identifying improvements that were presented at the Harrison West Society meetings and recommended for implementation can be downloaded here. The striping on West Third and West First is scheduled to be implemented in spring 2015 when weather conditions become favorable.

2. Crosswalks

  • The Division of Traffic Management staff received a service request in April 2014 requesting marked crosswalks at all major intersections and specifically at the intersections of West First with Harrison and Thurber Drive West.
  • City staff utilized the guidance from Federal Highway Administration to evaluate these intersections and determined that the west approach of West First at Harrison should be marked with “Type 1” crosswalk markings (i.e., two stripes) and that no other crossings should be marked. These markings were installed in recent months, and the original request was closed as completed.

3. Bike Lanes/Shallows

  • The staff also received a request for bike lanes or sharrows on West First between Neil and the west terminus of West First.
  • The city indicated that West First has a typical width of 30’ between Harrison Park Place and Michigan Avenue, 39.5’ between Michigan and Harrison, and 34’ between Harrison and Neil. Given that on-street parking is allowed on all three of these segments and that two-way traffic already operates in a yielding condition on this corridor, there is not enough space to add two additional lanes for bicycles.
  • Sharrows are planned to be installed on this corridor in 2015 as part of a citywide project and complementing the striped parking to improve conditions for bicyclists on this street.

Truck Traffic

Representatives from the society and the Harrison Park Condominiums have also been in discussions with the city aimed at reducing the truck traffic through the neighborhood. After literally dozens of 53-foot tractor trailers have gotten stuck at West First and Harrison Park and seriously damaged at least two parked cars, the city has agreed that we have a problem. We are exploring adding “No Through Truck” signage at key locations and possibly designating a marked truck route into and out of the neighborhood.

Street Signs

We also have been talking with the city about the street sign posts added on Harrison Park at West First and West Second. The existing street sign at West First is on a light post—a policy the city is now rethinking because the sign straps can damage the fiberglass poles—but is blocked in the summer by the foliage of an adjacent sycamore tree. The city placed a new post directly at the end of West First and had planned to add street signage, but they were unaware that the society had already negotiated a ban on signage that impedes the view of the gazebo. They will move forward with removing the existing sign and will look at relocating the new pole to maintain the gazebo view. A street sign at West Second was lost when the light pole there was knocked down more than a year ago. In keeping with the new policy to avoid street signs on light posts, the city will keep the new post and street sign that they installed at West Second.

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