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Friday, October 24th, 2008

Celina's Main Street could go from slant to parallel parking

By William Kincaid
Parking on Celina's Main Street could be changed from the current 45 degree angled spots to parallel parking in the coming years.
Celina City Council members are in the early stages of design planning for the forthcoming Main Street reconstruction project. The $3.7 million project will be bid out in early 2010 with work to begin that spring.
Under Ohio Department of Transportation guidelines, the city can choose three options: 30 degree angled parking spots, 45 degree angled parking spots or parallel parking. All three options would result in a loss of some parking spaces.
Currently, the city has 158 parking spots at 45 degree angles over seven blocks, according to Celina Planning and Community Development Director Kent Bryan.
The city for the most part has ruled out the possibility of the 30 degree parking spots because that would drastically reduce parking, Bryan said.
Parallel parking would reduce the parking spaces to 93.
If the city chooses to retain the 45-degree angled parking spots, it would lose either 50 or 17 spaces, depending on what plan ODOT approves, Bryan said. According to ODOT requirements, parking spaces within 30 feet of the intersection are prohibited, thus reducing the number of spots.
One of the benefits of parallel parking could be reduced vehicle accidents as the line of sight would be improved, Bryan said. One of the reasons Celina was awarded a $700,000 safety grant from ODOT was because of the number of accidents, he said.
However, Bryan said the city has received calls from people who said they wouldn't want to parallel park.
The city also has considered the possibility of creating four traffic lanes - two lanes for each side of traffic. One lane of travel could be used for the continuous flow of traffic while the other exclusively for drivers to pull in and out of parking.
The four-lane suggestion could also reduce traffic accidents, but Bryan and other council members fear it could lead to speeding as it would resemble a drag strip.
A decision about parking must be made in the next two months, according to Bryan.
City officials also must decide between various options on sidewalks, such as possible decorative sidewalks. If bricks were put in, future maintenance could be costly, Bryan said.
Another possibility is retaining 10 feet of sidewalk and installing 3 feet of banding consisting of bricks or colored concrete. The street's crosswalks also could be enhanced through brick patterns.
"If you have concepts and ideas get them out to us," Bryan said at the recent streets and alleys committee meeting.
The Main Street project will include rebuilding the street, all curbs and sidewalks beginning at Lake Shore Drive, as well as installing a new water line, decorative street lighting and new traffic lights.
Safety Service Director Jeff Hazel said many of the existing sidewalks will be torn up to bury electric lines underground as part of a $700,000 safety grant.
The grant also covers the costs to put up new traffic signals at seven intersections - Logan, Market, Fayette, Livingston, Warren, Fulton and Wayne streets. New computerized control boxes for the lights will be able to create a better traffic flow through the synchronization of lights, according to Bryan.
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