Roundabout Conversation Heats Up At City Council
Two residents spoke to city council Tuesday night, starting an interesting discussion
It wasn't mentioned anywhere on the agenda, but the State Route 91 improvements project was a major topic of discussion at Tuesday's city council meeting.
During audience participation, two residents got the conversation started, opposing the project and upset with city council.
Laura Giammaria started an online petition against the project and explained to council why she did.
"I’m not opposed to change, but I will stand up for what I believe in," Giammaria said.
The petition was created to give residents the opportunity to have their voices heard. She has watched the “highly touted” roundabout in Green closely and has seen no pedestrians and even semi trucks that have been reckless in driving the roundabouts.
“At no time during my observation were there more than six cars in it,” she said, adding that the traffic is not the same as on SR 91 and Glenwood Drive/Ethan’s Green.
"You’re missing the point of your voters and constituents,” she said. She told council members she does not appreciate their “condescending attitude” of residents who are "misinformed."
Ward 4 Councilwoman Maureen Stauffer, who started a website of her own to address residents' concerns, questioned the validity of the statements on the petition website.
“What was on here is not fact, they’re opinions,” Stauffer said about the petition. “I’m trying to get the information out there.”
The petition had 420 signatures as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“They’re signing it, but they’re signing it not knowing what the project’s all about,” Stauffer added.
Mike DiCillo, a Palmer Lane resident, spoke to council about his concerns on this project in the past. This time he was confused on the future plans for the improvements.
“You imply it’s going forward, despite public opinion,” he said. “I asked council if it was a done deal, and the council president said it wasn’t. But in fact, it was.”
“We have a long process moving forward with this project and it has many steps,” Council President Ted Yates answered.
He said nothing has gone to formal design at this point and they are looking at a process for Phase I and can “pull the plug on that at any time.” But if they do, council risks losing funding.
“Losing $8 million on a $10 million project is significant to me,” Yates said.
DiCillo thought that there was another option in the process, besides a roundabout.
“The alternative plan should be the signalized improvements from State Route 91 and Glenwood, all the way through to the Solon line,” DiCillo said.
“We definitely had two different plans for the intersections,” Mayor Katherine Procop said, as she held up separate plans, including a traditional intersection and a roundabout.
She said analysis was done for both designs, and the city hasn’t come to the final design for the projects, waiting for the right of way purchases in the fall.
“Are we leaning toward the roundabout? I have to say the city engineer is as well as council,” Procop said.
“We’re all here making difficult decisions,” Yates said, adding he gets into conversations about roundabouts everywhere he goes.
At-Large Councilman Bill Furey said this project isn't a "done deal" and won't be until the city purchases land for the right of ways. Not only does he have to talk to residents, but it's the topic of discussion at home also.
“My wife doesn’t even like roundabouts right now,” Furey said. “But statistically they are safer.”
Despite the leaning of most council members, some are not convinced, especially where the public is concerned.
“What’s missing here is that the public does not want roundabouts,” Ward 2 Councilman Bob McDermott said. “The numbers show 10-1 they don’t want it.”
Just before Giammaria left the podium as her time was up, she restated that she wasn't opposed to change, and added she would even "campaign for change in the next election."