transportation

Bicycle safety groups look for affordable solutions

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   City groups looking at transportation and bicycle safety want to do more than just spin their wheels. So on Monday evening, a joint meeting was held with the Bicycle Safety Commission and the City Council Transportation & Safety Committee. Together, the groups wanted to look at the two priorities involving bicycling that City Council selected in the new Community Action Plan. After discussion, the groups decided on the more manageable goal of pursuing grants to fund a bike lane on Court Street. They also decided to further explore the more “sweeping goal” of creating bike friendly streets in the area of Clough, Scout Hamilton, Thurstin and South College streets. Meanwhile, John Zanfardino, head of the council committee looking at bicycling in Bowling Green, said he continues to struggle with the seemingly opposing threads of the bicycling discussion. One direction focuses on education of bicyclists and motorists, so they learn to better share city streets. The other focus is on creating infrastructure for bicyclists – whether that is the more expensive bike lanes or the less costly sharrows painted on roads. “I’m a fan of Yay Bikes,” Zanfardino said of the Columbus-based organization that has worked with Bowling Green officials to better educate bicyclists and motorists. “It has the benefit of being a low cost way of making the city safer for bikes,” he said. Council member Daniel Gordon, also a member of the council committee, agreed that the Yay Bikes program was helpful. But he questioned the Yay Bikes conclusion that Bowling Green only needs education – not biking infrastructure. “Your streets are fine. You don’t need bike lanes. You don’t need infrastructure,” Gordon said of the Yay Bikes’ observations. “That’s certainly not the sentiment I’m hearing from folks in town,” Gordon said. The communities of Toledo, Sylvania and Perrysburg are working on biking infrastructure, he said. So it seems strange that a college town like Bowling Green would be veering away from bike lanes, Gordon said. “Residents have been calling for bike lanes for decades,” he said. “I think it’s well past time for us to make further efforts.” While people who bicycle a lot in the city are comfortable sharing the road with motorized vehicles, many people don’t have that comfort so they just don’t…

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County gives BG $300,000 for roundabouts at I-75

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Commissioners have kicked in $300,000 for roundabouts being planned at the Interstate 75 interchange in Bowling Green. The commissioners presented the check Thursday morning to Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards. “I know these decisions aren’t easy to come by, with all the competing demands” for funding, Edwards said to the commissioners. But Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said the impact of the interchange improvements will reach beyond Bowling Green. “It’s important for all of us,” she said. The roundabouts planned for the interchange on East Wooster Street are intended to make traffic move more smoothly and reduce accidents. Work on the necessary infrastructure for the project will begin in 2018, according to Bowling Green Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter. The actual road paving work is planned for 2019, she said. “It’s got a lot of moving parts,” Tretter said of the project. Edwards thanked the commissioners for their “spirit of collaboration.” “We appreciate you recognizing the import of this,” he said, referring to Bowling Green as the capital of Wood County. “We do have this very important corridor coming in off 75. This will make a huge difference.” The improvements are even more needed with the expansion of the Wood Bridge industrial park off Dunbridge Road, the mayor said. “We do work together really well in Wood County,” Herringshaw said. “We actually communicate and talk about our issues, and solve our issues.” Bowling Green Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said the local share is due to the Ohio Department of Transportation in the spring. The current projected total local share for the road work and utility work is $5,150,000; $3,450,000 for the road work and $1,700,000 for the utility work. The overall cost for the project is $7,700,000. ODOT is contributing $2,250,000 and the county has contributed $300,000. A bond will be sold to finance this project and will be paid back over a 20-year period.  The timing of the county’s contribution is important, Fawcett said, because the process for selling this bond will begin within the next month or so – starting with accounting for how much money is needed, developing the bond retirement schedule, and the necessary city legislation to do all of this. More roundabouts are proposed for East Wooster Street at the intersections…


Roundabout eyed for Campbell Hill – Napoleon Road

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   East Wooster Street in Bowling Green may not be the only route in the area steering for roundabouts. Wood County Engineer John Musteric has asked for a safety study to be conducted at the intersection of Napoleon Road and Campbell Hill Road – just on the east side of Bowling Green. The Wood County Commissioners agreed to the study, which will be conducted by Poggemeyer Design Group. According to Musteric, the Campbell Hill-Napoleon intersection was identified on a list compiled by the Ohio County Engineers Association as one of the worst intersections in the region for accidents. Other Wood County intersections have made the list in the past, including Hull Prairie and Roachton, which now has a roundabout, and several on Oregon Road between Ohio 795 and the city of Northwood. A roundabout is currently being considered for the intersection of First Street and Oregon Road, Musteric said. In the city of Bowling Green, roundabouts are planned at East Wooster’s intersections with Interstate 75, Dunbridge Road and Campbell Hill Road. Now it appears there may be one more roundabout, just on the outer edge of the city. During the past three years, Musteric said the Campbell Hill-Napoleon crossing has been the site of about 45 accidents. Most have involved property damage and none have been fatal crashes, he said. “There have been a lot of accidents there,” he said. It doesn’t seem to be a matter of visibility, and the county has added signage. But that doesn’t seem to have helped. “People are stopping at Campbell Hill and then they pull out thinking the Napoleon traffic will stop,” Musteric said. So a traffic study will be conducted, in hopes of the county getting some funding for a possible roundabout. A four-way stop could be placed at the intersection, but then there will be more rear-end collisions, he said. “The state is more than willing to give money away for safety,” Musteric said. “These roundabouts reduce accidents by 76 percent.” The traffic study will likely be completed by the end of this year. “We definitely want it done while school is open,” he said. The results will be used to help the county pay for improvements. “We can use that to apply for grant money,” Musteric said. However,…


Citizens sound off on East Wooster corridor plans

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Citizens got to heap compliments and complaints earlier this week on Bowling Green’s plans to recreate its image from the interstate. Giant drawings showed plans for roundabouts at I-75 and East Wooster Street, a walk- and bike-path along Wooster, and a new decorative look to the bridge over the interstate. “It’s beautiful. I think it’s going to organize traffic in and out of the city,” and prevent accidents in the process, said Brandon Welsh, operations manager at Best Western on East Wooster Street. The project will add two roundabouts designed for semi-trucks at both Interstate 75 interchanges on East Wooster Street. The bridge driving surface will be replaced, with a bike-pedestrian trail being added from Alumni Drive to Dunbridge Road along north side of Wooster Street. The plan calls for a landscaped gateway to be created to Bowling Green and Bowling Green State University. Though utility work will begin in 2018, the bulk of the actual interchange and roadway work will take place in 2019. ”I’m very excited about the new pedestrian improvements,” said Chris Frey, who lives close to downtown but said he would use the bikeway along East Wooster to the Meijer store. “I’m looking forward to it. I’d be very happy to ride my bicycle to the store.” The more accommodations the city can make for bicyclists and pedestrians, the better, Frey said. “We don’t have a culture of stopping for pedestrians.” But that may come, he added. Dawn McCaghy also liked the addition of 10-foot wide bike and pedestrian lane over I-75 that will be made possible by one of the westbound vehicle lanes being eliminated. “I like the pedestrian and bicycle pathway,” she said. “We see students walking on the roadway all the time.” As far as the roundabouts, McCaghy admitted a little apprehension. “I guess I’m sort of neutral, but I know I’ll have some trouble at first.” Her husband, Charles McCaghy, noted that roundabouts work successful in so many other places. “Once people get used to them, they’ll say, ‘How did we every get on without them?’” he said. “We’re not exactly breaking ground.” One woman expressed concern that the roundabouts will be difficult to navigate, and asked if they will be smallish like the rotary in front of Terra…


More crosswalks, roundabouts planned for East Wooster

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council fast-tracked some changes Monday evening for East Wooster Street. Council suspended the three-readings rule and passed legislation to seek funds for two additional roundabouts, and proceed with installation of four marked crosswalks between Manville Avenue and Campbell Hill Road. The city is already working with the Ohio Department of Transportation on roundabouts at the Interstate 75 interchanges on East Wooster Street. The resolutions before council on Monday involved the roundabouts at the intersections of East Wooster at Campbell Hill and Dunbridge roads. The four crosswalks are planned at areas where pedestrians are more likely to use when dodging traffic on East Wooster Street. According to Public Works Director Brian Craft, two different types of crosswalks are proposed. Pedestrian hybrid beacons are planned by the Stroh Center and by the BGSU McFall building. These crosswalks will have buttons for pedestrians to push, which will turn flashing yellow lights to solid red lights for vehicle traffic. Passive crossings are planned in the areas of Troup Street and at the driveway to the Falcon Health Center. These crossings will have islands in the middle of the street for pedestrians, Craft said. In addition to creating less air pollution, city officials are interested in the roundabouts because the East Wooster Street Concept Plan identified these locations for intersection improvements, including a “new look” for the corridor. The plan calls for a calmer and more aesthetically pleasing entrance to the city with a landscaped median as part of that concept. Since the East Wooster corridor is the “front door” to the community, the plan suggested increasing trees, calming traffic and adding improvements for pedestrians. If approved, ODOT would pay 80 percent of the roundabout costs, with Bowling Green paying the remaining 20 percent. That means for the Campbell Hill rotary, estimated to cost $1,525,000, Bowling Green would pay $310,000 plus $153,000 for project preparation. For the Dunbridge Road rotary, estimated to cost $935,000, Bowling Green’s share would be $190,000, plus $95,000 for project preparation. Also at Monday’s meeting, Mayor Dick Edwards talked about the positive reactions since the city’s announcement last week that it would donate land on South Grove Street to the Wood County Committee on Aging for a new senior center. The property on South Grove…


BG to consider 2 more roundabouts on East Wooster

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials may soon seek another go-round at more roundabout funding. On Monday, Bowling Green City Council will hear the first readings of resolutions for two more roundabouts on East Wooster Street. The city is already working with the Ohio Department of Transportation on roundabouts at the Interstate 75 interchanges on East Wooster Street. The resolutions before council on Monday involve the intersections of East Wooster at Campbell Hill and Dunbridge roads. If approved, ODOT would pay 80 percent of the roundabout costs, with Bowling Green paying the remaining 20 percent. That means for the Campbell Hill rotary, estimated to cost $1,525,000, Bowling Green would pay $310,000 plus $153,000 for project preparation. For the Dunbridge Road rotary, estimated to cost $935,000, Bowling Green’s share would be $190,000, plus $95,000 for project preparation. Bowling Green is already working with ODOT to put two roundabouts at I-75 and East Wooster Street in 2018. The work will include pedestrian access along the bridge deck and aesthetic improvements for those entering the community. The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments is seeking transportation projects that might qualify for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program. Roundabouts often qualify since they allow traffic to continue moving at a steady pace unlike regular intersections that require motorists to stop and go. In addition to creating less air pollution, city officials are interested in the roundabouts because the East Wooster Street Concept Plan identified these locations for intersection improvements, including a “new look” for the corridor. The plan calls for a calmer and more aesthetically pleasing entrance to the city with a landscaped median as part of that concept. Since the East Wooster corridor is the “front door” to the community, the plan suggested increasing trees, calming traffic and adding improvements for pedestrians. Another benefit, according to city officials, is that fewer left hand turns into and out of businesses will be required because of the roundabouts. That is expected to decrease the number of serious vehicle crashes in the corridor. The funding decisions will not be made until December. If Bowling Green is awarded funds, the money may not be available until 2022 or later. Applications for the funds are due June 2, so City Council will be asked to give the…