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Green eyeing Massillon Road improvements

5/29/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

City of Green officials are planning improvements to Massillon Road to improve traffic flow. An image of the Recommended Alternative plan is shown above.
Image courtesy of the City of Green
GREEN — City of Green officials are planning major improvements to a portion of Massillon Road to improve traffic flow.

At the May 27 Green City Council meeting, City Engineer Paul Pickett, along with Brian Moore and Steve Thieken from Burgess & Niple, which the city is working with on the almost $9.9 million project, laid out details of the improvements that will focus on Massillon Road between Interstate 77 and state Route 619.

According to Moore and Thieken, that area has had a number of crashes due to traffic volume exacerbated by business driveways that are too close to each other and some hilly sections of the road that impair sight distance for motorists.

“These problems are not going away,” said Thieken. “They are going to get worse because traffic volume is expected to increase by 50 percent in 30 years.”

Officials said the goal of the project is to increase safety and vehicle capacity and to create an aesthetically pleasing corridor. After reviewing a number of proposals for improvements, officials from the city and Burgess & Niple said they decided on a plan that will include two new roundabouts on Massillon Road, two lanes in each direction in most areas and the addition of two service roads to eliminate left turns into two businesses located on the west side of Massillon Road.

One of the new roundabouts on Massillon Road would be established at the Stein Road intersection and a larger one would be created at the state Route 619 intersection, according to the preliminary plans.

Pickett said the roundabouts will decrease traffic noise and improve safety.

“The one we have [on Steese Road] is functioning well, whether you love it or hate it,” he said.

One of the service roads will be built parallel to Massillon Road running from a small roundabout to be created in the large entrance to Belgrade Gardens opposite Raber Road. That road will service Belgrade Gardens and ComDoc Inc., and a modified traffic light will be installed there to accommodate traffic.

The other service road would be constructed in an east/west configuration off the Stein Road roundabout and service Pioneer Plastics Corp.

Thieken explained both would alleviate traffic tie-ups that occur from motorists trying to make left turns into and out of the businesses.

Also part of the project is a plan to flatten two hilly sections of Massillon Road, one south of Stein Road and one south of state Route 619, which officials said would improve sight distance.

The Massillon Road improvement project also would include the installation of medians along Massillon Road to prevent most left turns, but left turns still would be permitted into Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt and the Servus Center plaza, according to the preliminary plan.

In addition, the project would include some streetscaping with lighting and vegetation.

City officials said planning for the Massillon Road improvements is slated to begin this summer, with land acquisition to begin in 2016 and construction to start in 2017-18.

Council also had extensive discussion on a second reading of legislation authorizing the city to enter into a cooperative agreement with 5430 Southpark LLC to share the cost of constructing a waterline to the new Twisted Olive restaurant being developed at the former Belden Lodge in Southgate Park.

5430 Southpark LLC purchased the property located at 5430 Massillon Road from the City of Green last year. The cost to extend water to the new restaurant is approximately $160,000, according to Planning Director Wayne Wiethe.

Wiethe told Council the city would like to partner with owners of the Twisted Olive to create a potable water source at the park. That effort would include an extension from a hydrant in front of the restaurant that would run under a planned parking lot to the city’s portion of the park. While there are no immediate plans for the water, city officials argued it makes sense to share the cost rather than to pay for a water line on their own in the future.

According to the resolution, the city would contribute $80,000 to the construction of the water line, with half for the extension under the parking lot and the other half to contribute to the cost of the 1,200-foot line from Massillon Road to the restaurant.

Mayor Dick Norton said the partnership “makes good sense” and is good long-term planning.

Council Vice President and Finance Committee Chair Chris Humphrey (at-large) said he “struggles with why we are partnering to pay for the first 1,200 feet of the water line” and questioned why city officials want a source of water at the park.

Council President Gerard Neugebauer (at-large) stated the partnership significantly reduces the cost of bringing water into the park and the partnership pays to increase the size of the line from the road to accommodate the city’s needs.

Discussion on the resolution is expected to continue at the next Council meeting.

One new piece of legislation introduced that evening was an ordinance to amend a previous one Council approved earlier this year requiring taxicabs and transportation services operating in the city to conspicuously post their fare rates.

Representatives from two taxicab companies commended Council on the legislation.

Daniel Mauller, of Action Taxi LLC, suggested the legislation should be effective June 1, as originally planned, not July 1, as it is now proposed. He also suggested the city enforce permanent lettering and top lights on taxicabs.

Tim Cox, owner of Akron Canton Transport, stated taxis at the Akron-Canton Airport operate more like a limousine service, and he believes the marketplace will solve the problem of some taxis having meters and others not.

The proposed changes seek to make clarifications and details can be viewed on the city’s website at www.cityofgreen.org.

Council is expected to discuss the proposed legislation at the next meeting.

In other business, Council approved:

  • an ordinance authorizing the issuance of bonds in the maximum principal amount of $290,000 for the purpose of retiring notes issued to pay costs of two Tax Increment Financing projects; and
  • an ordinance authorizing the issuance of bonds in the maximum principal of about $6.9 million for the purpose of retiring notes issued to pay costs associated with the construction of Town Park Boulevard east of Massillon Road.

Because two members of Council were absent from the meeting and the items were approved 5-0, they do not take effect for 30 days, per the city’s charter. Council is expected to reconsider these at the next meeting when all members are present in order to vote again on them to expedite their effectiveness by two weeks.

The next Council meeting will take place June 10 beginning at 5 p.m. for committee meetings and at 7 p.m. for the regular meeting at the Central Administration Building, located at 1755 Town Park Blvd.

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