LIMA — Lima unveiled its “preferred alternative” on a revamped intersection of Main and Market streets in downtown Lima, calling for a one-lane roundabout going through a larger diameter design in Town Square. The plan also calls for backed-in parking and using several mid-block crosswalks.
“We’re looking for some good solutions for new things downtown and a growing downtown,” said Kirk Niemeyer, the city engineer for Lima.
Lima showed its plans for Main Street/Market Street safety improvements during a public hearing held virtually via Microsoft Teams, which drew 22 attendees, mostly people who did business downtown. Documents from the presentation are available online at j.mp/3dIP1Zm.
Attendees raised questions about the safety of backed-in parking, which is proposed along Main Street from south of Market Street to Wayne Street on the west side of Main but kept parallel parking from North Street to Wayne Street on the east side. Niemeyer noted since reverse-angle parking was added on West and Elizabeth streets in 2014, there have been no parking-related accidents there. That’s in comparison to 37 crashes over a 10-year period in the proposed project area.
The change would result in one fewer parking spot in the area, from the current 109 down to 108.
If the project goes through as presented, it would move drivers from the two lanes before and after the intersection in all four directions to one lane, in comparison to the two lanes that can move through the intersection with a flagpole in the middle of a center island now. The flagpole and landscaping in the middle of the intersection could remain, along with electrical fed into that area.
“We can fit this roundabout without too much impact to the existing Town Square we have now,” Niemeyer said.
Niemeyer said the project aims to reduce the number of accidents there in an effort to “modernize the current traffic circle to a single-land roundabout.”
“Folks are treating this intersection a lot like a roundabout, and it’s obviously creating confusion,” Niemeyer said. “The efficiency of roundabouts in general is superb. At the intersection of Elm and Bellefontaine, traffic has never flowed better in that area.”
There were also several questions about the safety of crosswalks going through the roundabouts. Niemeyer noted there will be islands for people to stop, and some concerns would be addressed with signage. Other improvements could include possibly putting LED lights in the pavement along the crosswalk. New high visibility crosswalks could be added on Main Street in the middle of the block near the Allen County Courthouse, near ArtSpace/Lima and near the Veterans Memorial Civic Center to cross toward the under-construction Rhodes State College Borra Center for Health Sciences.
Another option that was dismissed was a smaller diameter design for the roundabout that removed the flag pole and electric from the existing center island and required new pavers around the perimeter.
Parking alternatives considered but dismissed included adding angle parking on the east side of Main Street from North Street to Wayne Street while maintaining parallel parking on the east side of the road. That would’ve increased the number of parking spots to 114 spaces. Making no changes to Main Street parking was another alternative.
The public has until April 18 to comment on the project, sending comments to City of Lima Public Works Department, Engineering Division, 50 Town Square, Municipal Building, Second Floor, Lima, OH 45801. There’s also a questionnaire and comment form available online at j.mp/3lvUlkH.
A plan will be officially selected later this spring. The project could begin construction in spring 2022 and be completed within 70 days, with traffic maintained along Market Street and on-street parking and access to businesses maintained along Main Street.