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Transportation Summit Report

Attendees at the 2015 Transportation Summit held March 20 heard important regional transportation news. The crowd of 195 elected officials, planners, and engineers got details on regional construction plans, gained insight into public transit issues, and learned the fine points of roundabout design and construction. Presentations from the summit are posted on the TMACOG website here.


Construction
The initial presentation was from Adam Greenslade, director of government affairs, marketing and communications for the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, and Mike Gramza P.E., administrator of Planning and Engineering, ODOT-District Two. They explained how revenue bonds from the turnpike pushed ahead planned transportation projects in regions adjacent to the turnpike including northwest Ohio. Gramza walked through the projects that will have the most economic impact on the region including a complete redesign of the I-475/US 23/exit to US 20 intersection. A video showed how conflict points will be reduced, braided exits eliminated, and merges made easier. He also reported on progress on the complete renovation of the High Level Bridge, the last suspension bridge owned by the state of Ohio.

Complete Streets
Several upcoming local roadway projects will incorporate bicycle and pedestrian facilities in keeping with complete streets policies. The badly needed repairs to the Anthony Wayne Trail will take place over three to four years and include a multi-use path. Renovation plans for Bancroft Street involved dialog with the Old West End Historical Commission and will result in the “poster child for complete streets” according to Doug Stephens, Commissioner, City of Toledo, Division of Engineering Services.

Public Transit
The second presentation of the day took a broad look at public transit. Chuck Dyer, administrator, Office of Transit, ODOT Central Office explained the findings of the Ohio Statewide Transit Needs Study. Needs in Ohio are large and expected to grow with an aging population needing transit and younger commuters desiring transit options. The study's recommendations include shared services, better technology, and better public information services, followed by more funding and more reliable funding. On the local side, Mike Scott, formerly a council member for the city of Rossford, explained why that city decided to remain part of TARTA. Shelley Papenfuse, long term care program manager with the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, talked about the need for better transit for the elderly and disabled in the region who are living at home, commuting to work, and paying taxes. She and others propose a study of transit funding that would compare financing based on property tax to financing with sales tax to determine which system might produce better results for the region..

Roundabouts
The keynote presentation was a comprehensive look at roundabouts; where they work, how they work, and how to build public support for them. Mark T. Johnson, P.E., of MTJ Roundabout Engineering showed how a good design can accommodate freight, increase pedestrian and driver safety, and even increase capacity. With more than 400 projects completed, he had examples of a wide range of solutions including multiple roundabouts in close proximity to each other, roundabouts in industrial areas and in historical areas, as highway access intersections, and in retail settings.


Johnson's presentation and others from the summit are posted on the TMACOG website here.

President of Wood County Commissioners Jim Carter at the summit.

A question from the floor at the 2015 Transportation Summit.


Dave Gedeon, TMACOG Acting Vice President of Transportation.

Doug Stephens of the City of Toledo and Mark T. Johnson of MTJ Roundabout Engineering talk roundabouts.



 


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