By Frank Lewis
If you have held your breath while coming down on the north side of the Gallia Street Overpass, hoping the traffic won’t be stopped waiting for someone to make a left turn onto the parking lot at King’s Daughters Medical Center, that problem will be resolved soon.
The Kinney’s Lane at Scioto Trail project, which creates a dedicated left-turn lane, has been awarded to Allard Excavation in the amount of $131,571.43. Community Development Director Tracy Shearer said Allard was issued a notice to proceed on Oct. 26, 2015 so the project should begin any day. The project has a deadline of Dec. 31,2015.
One of the people who has made this a top priority is First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson.
“This is going to be a great thing for the entire neighborhood,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be much safer. The traffic will flow better so I’m really happy it’s going to be done.”
Johnson said the work comes at the right time.
“Last week I actually got a call at 9 o’clock at night from a nurse at KDMC,” Johnson said. “Her basic message was a lot of her patients were asking why is that intersection so dangerous? what is the city going to do about it? That has been a big issue to people who go to KDMC coming up from the city going north. There’s no easy left-turn lane either at Kinney’s Lane or moving up further on Scioto Trail into the main entrance.”
Johnson said it’s his understanding the traffic light situation will be one of back-and-forth rotation.
“The southbound Scioto Trail already has a light so that you can go onto Kinney’s Lane going east,” Johnson said. “I believe the way they are going to set it up is that the north and southbound will alternate, so that all of southbound goes at one time and all of northbound goes at one time and alternating Kinney’s lane in between those sequences.”
The Daily Times asked Johnson about the fact that there not a single crosswalk on Scioto Trail between Kinney’s Lane and 25th Street.
“I have brought that to the attention of (Portsmouth City Manager) Derek (Allen),” Johnson said. “For the foreseeable future I don’t know how we’re going to deal with that. What I would prefer to see, as is done in other states, is a crosswalk with blinking lights that indicate that traffic must stop for pedestrians, that is clearly marked, and even with a center sign that clearly marks it as a pedestrian crosswalk. I think we really need to consider that for Scioto Trail.”
Johnson said even employees of the U.S. Postal system have to cross an unmarked area to deliver mail.
Johnson cautioned that the city of Portsmouth has so many funding needs that he is not going to push for the crosswalks now and he expressed his delight to having the turn lane installed at KInney’s Lane and Scioto Trail.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.