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Published: Monday, 11/18/2013

Officials explain roundabouts, other road projects in N. Toledo

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Darryl Robinson isn’t especially excited with Toledo leaders’ plans to build a roundabout at Phillips Avenue and Manhattan Boulevard in a few years, but he’s all in favor of those proposed for four other corners along Berdan Avenue and Cherry Street.

“I kind of like the [traffic] lights” at Phillips and Manhattan, the 25-year Manhattan resident said after a city presentation Monday evening about the proposed roundabouts as well as an upcoming sewer project that will close a neighborhood park for three years.

“But down there at Collingwood and Cherry, that would benefit a lot from roundabouts,” Mr. Robinson said.

He was among about two dozen people who turned out for the meeting at Rosa Parks Elementary School during which the city’s Phillips-Willys Interchange Connector project and its plans for a 36-million sewage-retention basin beneath Joe E. Brown Park were explained.

Andrew Langenderfer, a senior project manager with city consultant Tetra Tech, said planners viewed the streets project, intended to complement the Ohio Department of Transportation’s nearby I-75 reconstruction, as a chance for aesthetic improvement as well as enhancing traffic safety.

“We wanted to do this as a gateway feature for the community,” Mr. Langenderfer said.

David Dysard, an administrator with the city Division of Engineering Services, said roundabouts eliminate “T-bone” collisions and thus dramatically reduce traffic deaths and injuries at intersections where they are built, along with eliminating needless traffic delay during light-volume times of day.

“How many times have you sat there at 9 or 10 o’clock, waiting there at a red light and looking up and down the [intersecting] street for another car?” he asked the audience.

First to be built will be the roundabout at Detroit Avenue, Cherry, and Berdan, set for next year so that Detroit will be open throughout the three-year I-75 project slated to start in 2015.

According to the city’s timetable, the others will be done during the three to four following years, with Manhattan and Phillips starting once the sewer project in the park is finished.

The roundabouts and related street improvements are expected to cost $12.5 million, which the city expects to share with ODOT, while the sewer project is budgeted at $70 million.

The huge underground tank, intended to store heavy storm runoff from neighborhood sewers and then feed it toward the city treatment plant gradually — to prevent raw-sewage overflows into the Ottawa or Maumee rivers — will displace 300,000 cubic yards of earth beneath the western half of the park.

The entire park will be closed during construction and is to be restored afterward with a new, lighted baseball diamond with permanent dugouts, two tennis courts, a street-hockey rink, and new playground equipment.

Mr. Robinson said he hopes hot-rodders won’t do tire burnouts and “drifts” on the roundabout circles in his neighborhood, which he said happens at a Springfield Township roundabout en route to church.

Mr. Dysad said that will have to be an issue for law enforcement if it happens, because “you really can’t design for that kind of stupidity.”

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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