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Oberlin residents turn out to debate proposed roundabout


OBERLIN — The idea of the multiple roundabouts along Pyle-South Amherst Road received mixed reviews from the residents at a public hearing.

City Council invited residents along the road to speak about their concerns moving forward with the project. The initial project is just a repaving of the road while also adding three roundabouts and golf cart crossing onto the repaving project.

City Public Works Director Jeff Baumann and City Engineer Randall Roberts gave a presentation to inform the public about the project and the reasoning behind the idea of the roundabouts.

The city is planning to build four roundabouts along the road between Lorain and Hamilton streets.

Three roundabouts will be placed at the three-way intersections on Pyle-South Amherst Road at Morgan Street, Spruce Drive and Robin Park Boulevard. A wide median crossing for golf carts will be built south of the entrance to the Oberlin Golf Club parking lot.

The roundabouts will be made with concrete and have “mountable curbs,” which would allow large vehicles like delivery trucks, ambulances and fire engines to drive over the low curbs of the roundabouts. The cost to add the roundabouts is about $10,000 to $20,000 each. They would be smaller than what most think of as traditional roundabouts — 20 feet in diameter as compared with 80 feet to 200 feet, Baumann said.

In January, the Public Works Department recommended the roundabouts to Council as a way of helping to enforce the 25 mph speed limit.

Residents voiced concerns about the project’s roundabouts, especially along Morgan Street, which would have a roundabout on or along two driveways off of the road.

Catharina Caldwell, a resident at the end of Morgan Street, said her greatest concern was that her home’s driveway would be along one of the roundabouts. She only could see a possible future where a confused driver may make a wrong exit onto her property or even strike a utility pole that’s also close to her home.

“I find it untenable in terms of people continuing into my driveway because they have not stopped to see if this is Pyle Road and then having trouble backing out,” she said. “I have great worries of skidding on ice and hitting a utility pole that is right (next to my driveway.)”

Most residents who came to speak said they supported plans to slow the traffic along the road, but were skeptical of the need for so many roundabouts. Some residents offered some alternatives to certain locations along the road so it is easier.

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