Plans are being drawn to upgrade the intersection of Howe and Shurmer roads by adding a roundabout. As of spring 2019, the city and project manager, EMH&T, are gathering input from the public and proceeding with engineering.
Below is information about the project handed out at an April 8 public meeting. You can also click here for a roundabout fact sheet or click here for a brochure explaining roundabouts. Also, here is a comparison of other alternatives at the Howe-Shurmer intersection, and a layout of the proposed roundabout's design.
Consulting engineers have compiled a list of residents' questions and concerns about the project and offered answers.
The segment of Howe Road between the South Park Center Mall (south entrance) and Drake Road is projected to be the #1 congested segment of roadway (in a five-county wide area) within the next 15 years under existing conditions. The Howe Road corridor has been the scene of over 140 accidents from 2015 through 2017, with over 30% of those accidents occurring at the existing signalized intersection of Howe Road with Shurmer Road. The City of Strongsville is very aware that improving the Howe Road intersection with Shurmer Road is only one piece of the puzzle. The City is focused on this corridor and is pursuing solutions to alleviate the frustrations and improve safety. The purpose of the current project is to reduce congestion and improve safety at the intersection of Howe Road and Shurmer Road.
The City of Strongsville began investigating the corridor, and specifically the Howe/Shurmer intersection, in 2012, with follow-up studies in 2015 and 2018. All of the studies concluded that most accidents at this intersection are the result of congestion along the Howe Road corridor including the lack of turn lanes at the existing signalized intersection. The 2018 Traffic Study produced by Euthenics Inc. Consulting Engineers investigated two potential alternatives for the intersection, 1) improving the existing signal and lane configuration, or 2) constructing a single-lane roundabout. The results of the study indicated that a single-lane roundabout would provide a greater level of service to motorists and was estimated to cost less than the signal alternative.
Following the recommendation of a roundabout for the Howe/Shurmer intersection, which would be the first roundabout in the City of Strongsville, the City heard the concerns of residents in the area and motorists that travel the corridor. As such, the City elected to conduct another study that further evaluated the community input. The City selected EMH&T, a professional engineering firm well-versed in intersection studies/alternatives analyses, including a strong history in roundabout design and knowledge to conduct an independent alternatives analysis of the intersection.
PURPOSE OF PUBLIC MEETING
The purpose of this open house/ public involvement meeting is to present the preferred alternative for the intersection improvement based on EMH&T’s detailed alternatives analysis. Project representatives from EMH&T are available to discuss the proposed project and to address any questions or concerns you may have regarding the project.
PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE: SINGLE-LANE ROUNDABOUT
After investigating both alternatives, a single lane roundabout is again the recommended alternative. The roundabout will provide a safe, efficient intersection without negatively impacting the existing capacity-challenged conditions of Howe Road. Sidewalks will be installed with crosswalks on each leg of the roundabout and will include a pedestrian refuge island allowing pedestrians to focus on traffic from one direction at a time, while crossing a single lane. Additionally, aesthetic enhancements will include brick paving around the center island, decorative street lighting, and landscaping in the island areas. The roundabout will be designed to easily accommodate the future widening of Howe Road at a later date.
COMMON CONCERNS ADDRESSED
In addition to a standard alternatives analysis, EMH&T was asked to address the following specific concerns with the roundabout, such as:
- Will the roundabout eliminate any gaps (for Canterbury) that the signal now provides for southbound traffic?
- This is a great question. As shown in the traffic simulation, the roundabout will not make the condition any worse than it is today. The signal at Pomeroy will still meter southbound traffic and create gaps in traffic heading southbound just as the existing light at Shurmer does in the existing condition. Roundabouts also have a traffic calming effect and will slow vehicles down to 20-25 mph before beginning to accelerate. Only a future three-lane section of Howe Road will improve the existing condition, where vehicles will only need a gap in one direction of traffic at a time, rather than both directions.
- Will traffic on Shurmer ever be able to make a turn if traffic on Howe is not stopped by a traditional signal?
- As shown in the traffic simulation, the signals at Pomeroy and Drake help to produce gaps in traffic flow in the same way they do today. In addition, the curvature of a roundabout lends itself to gap creation and low speeds. Once in the roundabout a vehicle has the right of way. Thus, any northbound Howe Road traffic wanting to turn left on Shurmer will also create gaps by forcing southbound traffic to yield.
- Will the roundabout negatively affect the signals at Drake and Pomeroy?
- The roundabout, when modeled with the signals at Drake and Pomeroy, is not shown to negatively affect the operations of the signals. Roundabouts are often used in signalized corridors around the country with no detriment to the surrounding signals.
- What about school buses, fire trucks, and RTA buses navigating the roundabout?
- Roundabouts are designed to allow a bus, fire-truck, or other large vehicle to safely navigate the roundabout. Please see our information table for further details on how this is designed and verified.
- What about an interchange at Boston Road and I-71?
- ODOT is currently working on seeking approval from FHWA to further study a partial interchange at Boston Road and I-71. Although this is a good sign, the reality is that an actual interchange to relieve the SR 82/I-71 interchange is a long way off and improvements to Howe Road are needed regardless.
BENEFITS OF ROUNDABOUTS
Roundabouts can improve the efficiency of vehicle movement and safety over other types of intersections, and provide other benefits (Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety, Technical Summary – Roundabouts, FHWA-SA-10-006)
. Please visit our Roundabout Information table for additional educational materials. The following are some of the benefits of roundabouts over traditional signalized intersections:
- Motorist Safety – The physical shape of roundabouts reduce the number and severity of potential conflict points and reduce vehicle speed.
- Pedestrian Safety – Reduced vehicle speeds at roundabouts can improve pedestrian crossing opportunities. Additionally, the islands that form the roundabout provide a refuge that allow pedestrians to focus on traffic approaching from only one direction at a time.
- Performance – Roundabouts typically have lower overall delay than signalized intersections, as demonstrated by the results of the analysis for this project.
- Environmental Factors – Roundabouts reduce noise and improve air quality by reducing vehicle delay and the number and duration of stops compared with signalized alternatives.
EMH&T will produce final Right of Way and Construction plans in 2019. Permanent and temporary right-of-way will be needed to complete the project. The City will contact affected property owners later this year to discuss Right of Way acquisition. Construction is expected to begin in 2020, and last approximately 4 months. Access to all residences, businesses, and properties will be maintained during construction. Local residents, schools, businesses, institutions, and emergency service providers will be informed of closures and detours in advance.
The above schedule is conceptual and subject to appropriate approvals by City Council.
For more information about this project, please contact Abby Cueva, EMH&T Consultant Project Manager, at (614) 775-4604 or email@example.com.
The final date to submit comments is Friday, April 19, 2019. All comments will be responded to by May 3, 2019.