MARIETTA - Marietta's city engineer is hoping for a "yea" or "nay" from members of Marietta City Council's streets and transportation committee today regarding the proposed $3.26 million upgrade project at the Pike, Greene and Seventh streets intersection.
"Should we go through with the final proposal for engineering?" city engineer Joe Tucker asked the committee members last week.
"If the decision is not to build, we have plenty of other projects we're working on," he added.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Tuesday morning traffic moves through the Pike, Greene and Seventh streets intersection in Marietta. City officials are considering a proposal to upgrade the intersection in order to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety.
Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, asked for a week to consider the project and to allow some more time for citizens to take a look at plans.
That requested week will be up today, and the committee is expected to give a final answer on moving ahead with the project.
The proposed design, supported by the engineering department, would include dual left turn lanes for northbound traffic from Ohio 7 onto north Seventh Street as well as dual left turn lanes from north Seventh Street onto Ohio 7 north.
If You Go
Marietta City Council's streets and transportation committee is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. today in the second floor conference room at 304 Putnam St. to consider proposed improvements to the Pike, Greene and Seventh streets intersection.
The current left turn from north Seventh Street onto Greene Street at the Speedway store would be eliminated in favor of a right-turn only onto Greene from Seventh and a right-turn only onto Seventh Street from Greene.
A signal-protected left turn lane would also be provided for southbound traffic on Ohio 7 to turn onto south Seventh Street. A pedestrian island would also be installed at that location.
Other improvements include the installation of Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant signalized pedestrian crosswalks and curb ramps across Ohio 7 as well as across Greene and north Seventh streets.
All council and committee meetings, except executive sessions, are open to the public.
In addition, the alley that now exists along Hardwood Center Drive and old Pike Street would be improved to a two-lane corridor between Greene and Ohio 7 to provide access to businesses located in that area.
Drivers who use the intersection seem to prefer keeping the ability to turn left off of Seventh Street onto Greene.
"We use this intersection often, and I think the left turn from Seventh is OK," said Dave Lamp, 54, of Marietta.
He added the city should probably leave the intersection as it is.
Greg Adams, 43, lives on Ninth Street, but makes the left turn from Seventh to Greene daily on his way to work.
"I'm through there about six times a day," he said. "And I understand it's not a healthy intersection, but if they do this project, where will that push the traffic?"
Adams said the change might improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety at Pike, Greene and Seventh streets, but it could also increase the amount of traffic at other intersections in the vicinity.
Michael Leboeuf, 23, lives on Greene Street, about a block east of the intersection with Seventh Street.
"The main issue for me would be ease of access from Seventh Street onto Greene where I live," he said. "I think there's really nothing wrong with the intersection, and I don't want it changed."
Workers at the Speedway convenience store on the corner of Seventh and Greene noted the store's parking lot is already used by some drivers as a shortcut between the two roadways.
They expressed some concern that eliminating the current left turn from Seventh to Greene would only exacerbate that problem.
Phillips Street resident Rebecca Lines, 68, said spending $3.26 million on the intersection isn't necessary.
"It's simply a timing issue with the signal lights," she said. "It wouldn't cost anything to change the timing on those lights to improve the traffic flow."
Lines noted when the new Williamstown Bridge was built another main intersection was created on west Greene Street that also increased traffic at the Pike, Greene and Seventh streets interchange.
"The money they're talking about spending at this intersection could be used in areas like the Williamstown Bridge," she said.
Lines added making improvements to the Pike, Greene and Seventh streets intersection could also create confusion for the city's older population.
"It would be a big traffic change for Marietta," she said. "You have to consider the age of our citizens. Many drive a certain route out of habit, and those habits are often hard to break."
Richard Davis, 77, of Warner Street agreed the proposed project funding could be better used elsewhere.
"I would just as soon they leave the intersection as it is," he said, adding that the city should put more money into crosswalks at other important intersections.
"There's a walk and don't walk signal at the corner of Phillips and Acme streets where we really don't need it," Davis said. "But there's no such signal at the intersection of Greene Street and Colegate Drive where one is needed."
Jim Walker, 74, and his wife, Maxine, 72, who live on Mt. Tom Road between Marietta and Reno, had conflicting opinions on upgrading the Pike, Greene and Seventh intersection.
"It is confusing for people who are coming into the intersection off Seventh Street and want to turn onto Pike Street. It's easy to get into the wrong lane," Jim said. "Especially for people who are from out of town. Some kind of change is needed."
But Maxine said that change shouldn't cost $3.26 million.
"I really don't think that intersection needs much of a change at all," she said.
Concerned about the proposed changes, Kalter has encouraged his constituents to take a look at drawings of the proposal at the city engineer's office on the third floor of 304 Putnam St., or to view the recommended plans online.
"Some things need to be dealt with in that area, like providing better crossings for handicapped people and other pedestrians," he said. "But the signals there could be adjusted, and there hasn't been one mention of enforcement at that intersection."
Kalter said, although it's a no turn on red intersection, drivers traveling west on Pike Street often turn right on red to access north Seventh Street, and others make illegal right turns at the two stoplights on north Seventh in order to head west on Greene Street.
He noted that around $360,000 has been spent so far on design plans and studies of the intersection.
"But those $360,000 worth of plans don't have to go into the trash," Kalter said. "They're still good plans that can be used in the future."
A recent letter from the Ohio Department of Transportation has indicated the city might have to repay $320,000 that the Wood, Washington, Wirt Interstate Planning Commission has invested in the project if council members decide not to pursue the upgrade.
Mayor Joe Matthews said the city doesn't want to have to pay that money back.
"But this issue should have been settled a long time ago," he said. "This has been going on for at least three years now."
Matthews said he also believes changes in the timing of signal lights at the intersection would improve traffic flow and safety there.
"And if they would cut back into some of the property in front of the old Movie Gallery lot, traffic would have a straight shot and better visibility turning onto Seventh Street (from Pike or west Greene streets)," he said.