Delaware County looking at Old 3C upgrades
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
The Genoa Township section of Old 3C Highway that runs from Freeman Road to Mt. Royal Avenue and Maxtown Road from Ohio 3 to Tussic Street, are modern peculiarities. The Old 3C roadway is lined along both sides with residential stock and also contains entrances to Fouse Elementary School and Genoa Middle School. Driving along Old 3C it’s easy to imagine the roadway as a township road, but it’s not; Old 3C belongs to Delaware County.
One would think that Maxtown Road from Ohio 3 to Tussic Street, a roadway that receives much more traffic and has no residential curb cuts, would be a county-maintained roadway – but it’s not. East of Northgate Plaza, Maxtown Road (a.k.a. Township Highway 32) is owned and maintained by Genoa Township.
County funds can be used to upgrade the lesser-used Old 3C residential roadway; township funds are needed to upgrade the heavily traveled Maxtown Road primary corridor. Adding to the peculiarity, because Old 3C is a county road the speed limit is 45 miles per hour – much too fast for a residential street; and Maxtown Road, with no residential curb cuts, drops to 35 mph.
It might be peculiar, but it’s also the reason that Old 3C is being considered for an upgrade using Delaware County Engineer’s Office funds with a possible contribution from the Ohio Public Works Commission and with no cost to the township; and Maxtown will continue funneling four lanes to two and experiencing traffic backups as motorists turn left into subdivisions, according to Deputy Engineer Rob Riley with the Delaware County Engineer’s Office.
Riley attended last Thursday’s Genoa Township Board of Trustees meeting with three alternative options for upgrading Old 3C slated for 2016 or 2017.
Alternative One includes minor improvements – much needed storm sewer upgrades along Old 3C, a minor resurfacing of the roadway and minor drainage improvements.
Alternative Two, what Riley called an intermediate upgrade, includes a widened road with curb and gutter drainage improvements and a traffic light at intersections with Mount Royal Avenue and Hawksbeard Drive. Alternative Two does not include the addition of much-needed sidewalks or footpaths to accommodate pedestrians, especially school children.
Alternative Three includes a widened road with curb and gutter drainage improvements, but includes a round-a-bout at the intersections with Mount Royal Avenue and Hawksbeard Drive, a bike path on the east side and a sidewalk on the west side of the roadway. Alternative Three also includes a center third lane (a.k.a. suicide lane) to improve safety for people making left turns into driveways and to allow for increased traffic flow.
Riley said the Alternative Two traffic light solution at Mount Royal would cost $150,000 to $200,000; the roundabout is more expensive at $1 million.
“The traffic signal at Mount Royal would be a marginal improvement to the traffic flow, but we don’t know about the long-term life of the facility,” Riley said. “Alternate Three with roundabouts would be more expensive but operates better and be good for the next 20 years.”
Riley said surveys filled out by area resident during and after a November 20 public meeting identified common themes. He said residents are concerned about traffic congestion, especially at Mount Royal and Old 3C, poor roadside drainage, lack of pedestrian and bike facilities, and a 45 mph speed limit that’s excessive for a residential neighborhood.
“When it comes to speed limits for township and county roads the only thing we can do is perform a traffic safety study and forward the results of those studies to the Ohio Department of Transportation,” Riley said. “We are conducting a speed limit study right now. No promises, but it will be forwarded to ODOT.”
Genoa Police Department Chief Robert Taylor said he likes the roundabout solution as a traffic control device.
“The rush hour backups are especially bad in the morning,” Taylor said. “But I also think the speed (along Old 3C) needs to reduce to 35 miles an hour because of schools and the residential nature of the neighborhood.”
Genoa FD Fire Chief Gary Honeycutt said the Fire Department views roundabouts as an improvement to keep traffic moving, while at the same time keeping intersections safer.
The trustees agreed with Riley that Alternative Three would be an ideal Old 3C upgrade, and agreed with Chief Taylor that a lower speed limit would create a safer residential and pedestrian environment.
While trustee Rick Carfagna like Alternative Three, he did question the need for a center suicide lane for left turns.
“I travel that road every day,” Carfagna said. “It’s slightly annoying when somebody turns, but I don’t see a reason for a center turn lane.
“We thank the County Engineer’s Office and American StructurePoint Inc. for hosting the November 20th public open house.” Carfagna added. “As the Engineer’s Office moves forward with this process, I urge them to consider the perspectives and input of the residents along this roadway that will be most impacted by these potential improvements.”
Carfagna urged the county to consider maintaining two travel lanes, reducing the speed limit and only constructing a trail on one side of the roadway.