YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – People at a community meeting in Youngstown Thursday night left with more questions than answers after a plan to change the layout of part of Midlothian Boulevard was discussed.
Saying there were a lot of questions at the meeting would be an understatement after plans to change Midlothian Boulevard from four lanes to two were announced.
Youngstown’s public works director Chuck Shasho kept repeating the phrase, “I’m not done,” after going over the plans.
The project would change Midlothian Boulevard to two lanes between Glenwood Avenue and Interstate 680 — during the Ohio Department of Transportation’s repaving process — and have a turning lane in the middle. It’s something Shasho says is ultimately safer.
“You have people swerve in and out of traffic and people stopped in left lanes and making turns. Fact is, two lanes in each direction is antiquated and out of date,” Shasho said.
He says ODOT did a traffic study and the amount of traffic on the road supports the idea.
Attendees raised concerns about rush hour traffic, especially combined with school buses and public transportation.
One Youngstown woman is also worried about proposed bike lines on either side.
“It’s still going to be an inconvenience by doing that because trucks are going to turn into those bike lanes,” said Pat Porter.
Shasho also proposed traffic studies to potentially remove two lights at Midlothian Boulevard — one at Hillman Street and the other at Zedaker Street, which many at the meeting said would cause traffic issues.
“I’m not pulling out into traffic, it’s not going to happen and it’s going to cause a backflow onto Shirley Road because everyone’s going to go down there to turn,” Porter said.
Attendees also raised concerns about where four lanes would merge into two before the I-680 interchange since the entire road will not be changed.
The project would start during ODOT’s paving project this summer. The city is financially responsible for 20% of that project.
Shasho says the studies on the traffic lights should be done within the next month or two.