Village leaders would like another traffic signal along Broadway

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Like many individuals who have to travel in order to get to their place of employment, Lacy Wallace Jr. hates the morning commute. And like many, he hates the evening commute as well. But unlike the thousands of motorists who share the roadway with him during the typical work week, his ire is directed less at the amount of vehicles on the interstate and more on the number of cars that have to sit idle while they wait to enter or exit his neighborhood.

As a life-long resident of the village of Urbancrest, Wallace Jr. has seen the area grow exponentially since he was a child.

“We always knew that growth would be coming someday,” he said, “but within the past decade or so our community has seen so much growth with new residents moving in and new businesses going up and that is also being seen with the city (that surrounds us) and the county we live in.”

He said that while he is not against residential or commercial growth, he does feel that more needs to be done to address the issues that arise with such a spike in the population – particularly the infrastructure on the roadways that were not designed to carry so many vehicles at one time.

Last month, the village councilman brought up the topic of infrastructure at their regular meeting. He said that he believes the council needs to explore the possibility of installing additional traffic lights on the major thoroughfare that runs parallel to their community.

According to Wallace Jr., residents of the village only have one true access point out of the area in the morning.

“We all have to go down Augustus Drive to turn onto Urbancrest Industrial Drive in order to get onto Broadway,” he said.

The problem with that being the primary route, he said, is all of the other motorists, including semi-truck drivers from the nearby warehouses, who have to use that road in order to get onto Broadway as well.

“It takes everyone forever to get to the light and then it takes everyone forever to be able to make a left turn,” he said.

Although the village residents have the option of traveling down First, Second, Central, Third and Fourth avenues to access Broadway, they find that route is even more congested – and dangerous – than Urbancrest Industrial Drive.

“Sometimes we are waiting 15, 20, 30 minutes there to make a left hand turn,” said Wallace Jr. “And when there is a small window of opportunity, we have to peel out of there quickly so we don’t get hit.”

Wallace Jr. said this situation has become nearly untenable for its residents which is why he wants the council to consider the feasibility of a traffic light at the intersection of First Avenue and Broadway or Third Avenue and Broadway.

“We have to start thinking about this and really explore the possibility of a light there,” he said.

While the state department of transportation typically allows municipalities some discretion when it comes to installing traffic lights within their boundaries, they would have to approve any traffic signals that are proposed on major thoroughfares, which Broadway, or U.S. Route 62, is considered.

Wallace Jr. said the members of the health and safety and committee will continue to discuss the matter at their upcoming meetings. He also said he hopes to confer with officials with the city of Grove City and Franklin County to come up with a “game plan” to address the increasing amount of traffic in the area.

“It’s not just a matter of inconvenience for us,” said Wallace Jr. “It’s becoming a real public safety issue too. We have to try to do something about it before something bad happens.”

In related infrastructure news, a representative with AEP Ohio was at the October meeting to discuss an upcoming program related to lighting fixtures in the village. According to Mike LaScola, the executive affairs manager for the company, AEP Ohio is in the process of a two-year project to replace the existing bulbs in the lighting fixtures with LED lights.

He also mentioned that the company was aware of the ongoing issues with the lighting on Centerpoint Drive and that they were working with the village administration to come up with a long-term solution so there can once again be working lights on the busy roadway.
LaScola added that if residents spot an issue with the lighting fixtures near their homes to report the problem to the village office.

In other news, Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. presented a proclamation of appreciation to councilwoman Deborah Larkins-Jackson to thank her for dedicating 25 years of her life to the public as a member of the legislative body. Earlier this year, the long-time councilwoman and member of the village health and safety committee said that she would not seek another term. Her last day in office will be Dec. 31, 2023.

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