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Crash Map: Accident hotspot near Grandview

614now Staff

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Most of us spend so much time in the car that it’s easy to forget that driving is a complicated, potentially dangerous activity, especially in a city where drivers have been ranked as the seventh worst in the nation. Toss a tricky intersection into the equation, and it’s fertile ground for, you guessed it, an accident.

In this series, we investigate some of Columbus’ most problematic intersections—the crossroads where most crashes happen. First up: 5th Avenue/Olentangy River Road near Grandview.

5th Avenue/Olentangy River Road is a really busy intersection—several lanes of traffic, two gas station entrances, crosswalks and bike trails all culminating in one place. It even landed a spot on the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s list of the 100 regional high crash intersections between 2015-2017. The high-crash location lists are intended to serve as a starting point for the identification and resolution of traffic safety issues in the region.

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While this intersection did not prove deadly from 2015-2017, it certainly was the scene of many insurance premium spikes. In total, there were 82 crashes at Olentangy River Rd. and W 5th Ave. in that three-year span, listed in the chart below.

201526
201627
201729
Total Crashes82
Fatal Crashes0
Serious Injury Crashes1
Minor Injury Crashes8
Possible Injury Crashes9

Why are there so many accidents?

According to Debbie Briner, Public Relations Specialist with the Department of Public Service per the Columbus Division of Traffic Management, the majority of the crashes that happened at this intersection are “access management” related, due to the high number of driveways located in close proximity to the intersection.

What’s being done

According to the City of Columbus website, Central Ohio is expected to grow by up to 1 million people by 2050. Insight2050 is a scenario analysis designed to identify ways to accommodate growth while minimizing impacts to the region’s quality of life. One of the most challenging areas within the study is the Northwest Corridor, which includes the 5th Ave/Olentangy River Road intersection. This area of Columbus is of particular interest because:

  • The area has high potential for job growth
  • Future congestion in the area could limit opportunities without investment in mobility
  • The area represents some of the most complex challenge for engineering and design
  • The area links multiple major institutions and employers

The 5th Ave/Olentangy River Road intersection falls within the limits of the Northwest Corridor Mobility Study, a project looking at the area from Bethel Road to West Broad Street. It includes Olentangy River Road and the surrounding transportation network, according to Briner. The City of Columbus and project leadership including COTA, MORPC, and OSU are getting the study underway.

An overall analysis of the corridor will look at all aspects of mobility along the corridor, including safety.

Bevan Schneck, Senior Public Affairs Coordinator at MORPC, says the Northwest Corridor Mobility Study is expected to be completed in 12-18 months.

To learn more about the Northwest Corridor Mobility Study, click here.

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Missing 14-year-old girl last seen on Columbus’ west side

614now Staff

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Columbus Police are searching for Megan Brumfield, a 14-year-old girl who went missing from the city's west side on Tuesday.

Police say Brumfield was last seen near North Harris Avenue and Ridge Avenue. She is described as 5 feet 1 inch, 110 pounds, blonde hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information about the girl's whereabouts should contact the Columbus Division of Police at 614-645-4624.

https://www.facebook.com/WTTEFOX28/posts/10158003234011575
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Local Love: Classroom transformation featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show

614now Staff

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One deserving Central Ohio teacher got the surprise of her career thanks to another Columbus local.

Brittany Jeltema has dedicated her life to flipping classrooms for educators around the country. Her most recent transformation impacted teacher Kristen Muenster and her students at the Academy For Urban Scholars High School in Downtown Columbus.

"She goes above and beyond for her students and I was honored to give her the space of her dreams," Jeltema said of Muenster on Instagram.

Jeltema was also excited to have the support of several local businesses through the process, including Elm and Iron, Stump Plants, Swoon Rugs, and Wildcat Gift and Party.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8hTKumHMsX/

Jeltema's story and the big reveal was recently featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show. Watch the emotional clip below!

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=492673894978684

To keep up with Jeltema as she continues to change the lives of our nation's teachers, follow her on Instagram at @thesuperheroteacher.

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Four months later, ODOT shares impact of SmartLane

Regina Fox

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The I-670 SmartLane has only been open about four months, but its effects on traffic are reportedly paramount.

According to Ohio Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Brooke Ebersole, since the SmartLane opened in October, average commute times on I-670 east have been cut in half.

Prior to construction, traffic speeds averaged 25 mph, and the evening commute from downtown Columbus to the East Side of the city could take anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes, said Ebersole. Now, with the left shoulder of I-670 open to traffic and an enforced speed limit of 45 mph, drivers can now rely on a 5-minute commute on I-670 between I-71 and I-270 regardless of the time of day, she added.

Beyond the weekday evening commute, Ebersole said the extra capacity provided by the SmartLane is also beneficial if there’s a crash.

"For example, a crash last month closed two of the three lanes on I-670 east, so ODOT was able to open the SmartLane to provide two lanes for traffic while still protecting emergency responders," she explained.

For more SmartLane coverage, click here. For more information on the SmartLane project, visit ODOT.com.

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