North Canton to remove traffic island after community backlash

Posted at 6:07 PM, Sep 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-12 18:07:36-04

North Canton is backing out of plans to install traffic islands after hearing from hundreds of upset residents.

The city’s plan was to space out four islands along East Maple Street. But a few weeks after the first one went up, the Mayor says they realized it wasn’t going to work.

Mayor David Held says the reasoning behind the traffic islands was to clearly distinguish the Walsh University district. Also, they were hoping to deter jaywalkers

And while he says their intentions were in the right place, the execution missed the mark.

It’s hard to miss the lone traffic island that sits awkwardly on East Maple Street. It is one of four that was supposed to line the busy road.

“There are a lot of communities that have the traffic islands that work great,” said Mayor Held.

But in the three weeks since this traffic island made it’s debut, the city has faced a sea of complaints.

“It looked great in design, but once we put the first one in we just didn’t get a good response," said Mayor Held.

Mayor Held says the traffic islands were paid for through a $3 million state and federal grant to improve traffic conditions along East Maple.

“I think because of the hill you have and the topography it decreased the visibility” said Mayor Held.

It's something mayor Held says the outside design engineer they hired didn’t foresee. Now he says the city has decided to remove it.

“The overall cost of each island was a little over $15,000, so to remove it will be just under $13,000” said Mayor Held.

Held says they will use the money intended for the additional traffic islands to pay for removal. And going forward will seek out community input for future projects.

Mayor Held says that during the planning process there wasn’t much community input at city council meetings. But three weeks ago the city created social media platforms where residents were able to voice their opinions.

The traffic island will be gone within 2 weeks.