Meeting planned in Northwood to discuss safety study findings

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Northwood recently had a Safety Study conducted for Woodville Road, from State Route 579 (Williston Rd.) to Norcross Drive. The preliminary findings and recommendations of the study will be discussed at an informational meeting on Monday, July 1 at 6 p.m. at the Northwood Municipal Building.
        The meeting will also discuss an interchange beautification project being considered at I-280/Woodville Road.
        The meeting will contain a brief presentation of the findings and recommended improvements.
        The study was conducted by the Mannick & Smith Group Inc. at Woodville Road from Norcross to St. Rte 579 due to the high accident rate in that corridor.
        “We’re still ironing out the details,” Patrick Etchie, AICP, senior project manager/funding strategist for the The Mannick & Smith Group, Inc., told The Press on Wednesday.  “We’re still finishing it up. We want to brief the public and the schools on the proposed improvements.”
        The corridor experienced 183 crashes from 2016-2018, said Etchie. There was one fatal crash and 49 injury crashes, which were higher than statewide averages as a percentage of crashes.
        The corridor also experienced higher than statewide averages of pedestrian and bicycle related crashes, he said.
        “The safety study analyses and findings led to the consideration of several conceptual improvements along the corridor,” said Etchie.
        Those improvements include reducing the number of lanes on State Rte. 579 north of Woodville Road to one thru lane in each direction.
        “There’s too many lanes there on 579,” he said. “There are a lot of crashes on that big sweeping curve. We want to get rid of a couple of lanes, make it a three lane road, then put in a 10-foot wide multi use path for bikes and pedestrians.”
         Despite less traffic in the corridor due to the nearby closure and demolition of the Woodville Mall, vehicles still race along the curve, he said.
        “So we want to slow traffic down by putting in the multi-use path,” he said.
        Other concepts include a center turn lane, a sidewalk on one side of the road, and the addition of pedestrian signals and pushbuttons at State Route 51.
        Buffer areas would be provided between the pedestrians/bikes and the travel lanes to encourage slower travel speeds, he said.
        Other recommendations include traffic signal changes or removal at Commerce Park Boulevard, and a potential roundabout at the Lemoyne and Woodville roads intersection near the school.  
        “A roundabout would really help to slow down traffic and make it a lot safer,” he said.
        Motorists would have to slow down to 15-20 mph to get through the roundabout. “We’re going to explain at the information meeting how traffic and bikes go through it. It will be well lit at night, To make a roundabout work at night, you really have to light it up. It will be aesthetically more pleasing to the community at that site. It will look a lot better.”
        Additional improvements would include a revision of the timings of traffic signals at the intersection, and traffic signal upgrades to more modern technology at the Wheeling and Woodville roads and the Wheeling and Curtice roads intersections.
        “The roundabout will be free flowing. We’ll need to revise the timing so there’s no traffic backups. There would no longer be a signal at Lemoyne anymore. You’ll just be free flowing through there. We’re going to have to make sure to keep traffic moving,” he said.
        All traffic signals will include new pedestrian countdown signal heads and pushbuttons. There will also be spot improvements to sidewalks and curb ramps along the corridor where current conditions do not meet standards. Crosswalks could be provided with enhanced markings to improve visibility.


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