Title: Reconstruct Cooper Foster Park Road in Amherst and Lorain
Sponsor: City of Lorain
Estimated Total Cost: $8,361,085
Proposed Source of Federal Funds: NOACA

History/Background: On April 16, 2014, , the Lorain County Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 14-254 authorizing the Lorain County Engineer to prepare, sign and submit an application packet to the NOACA for funding for a project on Cooper Foster Park Road in Amherst and Lorain.

Current Conditions: Cooper Foster Park Road in the Cities of Lorain and Amherst is classified as an urban minor arterial. According to the sponsor, current average daily traffic - as certified by the Ohio Department of Transportation in September 2013 - ranges from 9,720 to 13,330 vehicles per day (VPD). The number of lanes varies from two to three (12 feet wide) on existing the pavement. There are no bike lanes currently on the roadway. According to the sponsor, the proposed improvements are being recommended to address turning movements, capacity issues, crash history and field observations as outlined in The Cooper Foster Park Road Traffic Study prepared for the sponsor in 2013/2014.

Proposed Project: The proposed project involves reconstructing Cooper Foster Park Road with a three-lane cross section (one vehicular travel lane in each direction with a two-way center left turn lane), from Liberty Bell Street to Oberlin Avenue in Lorain and Amherst (location map). According to the sponsor, the proposed project will include three eleven foot wide lanes and two four foot wide bike lanes in addition to a 2 and ½ foot wide curb and gutter section on each side of the roadway. Sidewalks are also proposed as part of the project. The sponsor reports that exclusive right-turn lanes will be installed on eastbound Cooper Foster Park Road at the unsignalized intersections of Liberty Bell Drive and Linn Road. Also, traffic signals at Amchester Drive, Williamsburg Drive and Oberlin Avenue will be upgraded as well.

The project’s estimated total cost is $8,361,085. The estimated cost of preliminary engineering preliminary development (PEPD) is $345,215. The estimated cost of preliminary engineering detailed design (PEDD) is $375,000. The estimated cost of right-of-way (RW) is $250,000. The PEPD, PEDD and RW will be funded by the sponsor. The estimated cost of construction (C) is $7,390,870. The sponsor is requesting eighty percent ($5,912,696) of the construction (C) cost to be funded with NOACA-attributable Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds. The sponsor will provide the twenty percent ($1,478,174) matching funds.

Staff Comment (Summary):

Programming Division:
• According to the NOACA RPMS, the 2012 PCR for this section of Cooper Foster Park Road ranges from 75 to 78 (good condition).
• NOACA’s STP funds are programmed through SFY 2021. If this proposed project is approved, it will be amended to NOACA’s Long Range Transportation Plan.
• This segment of Cooper Foster Park Road is categorized on the Lorain County Bike Transportation Map as not suitable for bicyclists but there may be no alternate route.
• Recommend committee and public review in order to obtain comments.

Planning Division/Transportation Studies:

The following comments were offered by NOACA staff following their review of the Cooper Foster Park Road traffic study. The project sponsor (consultant) responds to NOACA staff comments.  

Comment from NOACA staff:
More analysis focus should be placed on midblock counts, queuing length and dissipation time and demonstrating that the corridor meets the L&D 402.2 warrants in order to justify the two-way left turn lane (TWLTL). Midblock warrant analysis is inconclusive. The corridor under consideration meets the average daily traffic (ADT) warrant of 5000-12,000 of Location & Design (L&D) section 402.2. 

Response from Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM): 
• This issue was raised in previous comments provided by NOACA. HMM addressed comments based on direction received from Mahmoud Al-Lozi. Daily volumes and number of access points meet requirements for TWLTLs. Lane continuity along Cooper Foster Park Road supports TWLTLs. Field reviews during peak hours suggest benefits from TWLTLs.

Response from NOACA staff:
• Performed with only 30 minutes of observation and data. ODOT L&D 402.2 requires at least 1 hour of observation and data. Response does not provide a reason for counting for only 30 minutes.
• Description of observed queuing was not quantified with a queue length or estimated delay time experienced by queued vehicles. Response does not provide a reason for this.

Comment from NOACA staff:
The intersections proposed for widening from two to three lanes meet left turn lane warrants. Intersection left turn lanes are warranted based on L&D Fig 401
5aE at Gargasz Drive, Ashwood Boulevard, & Linn Road. The left turn warrant analysis was not included in the HMM study.

Response from HMM:
• Left turn justification in the traffic study came from Highway Capacity Software (HCS) analysis as well as L&D language and guidance but justification from L&D 401-SaE only further supports the findings. The study would be more inclusive with this information.

Response from KS Associates, Inc.:
• KS has attached the L&D 401-SaE for Liberty Bell, Gargasz Drive, Linn Road, and Ashwood Boulevard to the end of this disposition for your review. All four intersections have left turn lanes warranted for the PM OHV.

Response from NOACA staff:
• The TWLTL justification is inadequate.
• The proposed left turn lane justification is not met for either time period based on HCS analysis. Response states that HCS analysis justifies left turn lanes.
• The proposed left turn lane justification is met for PM only based on L&D Figure 401-5aE.

Comment from NOACA staff:
The proposed 3-lane road segment is only 0.4 miles; Cooper Foster Road is already three lanes for 1.4 miles to the west of the proposed segment.

Response from KS Associates, Inc.:
• The entire project length is just over one mile long, with 0.4 miles of existing 3-lane roadway and 0.6 miles of proposed 3-lane (west of the project is a 0.6-mile 3-lane section, then a 0.35 mile 3-lane section)
• Maintenance of traffic considerations. It is the desire of the cities to maintain two-way traffic during construction. The existing cross section of the roadway precludes this ability and would require a one direction detour of 3.4 miles down SR-58 to Tower Boulevard to Oberlin Road or a 2.4 mile detour down SR-58 to North Ridge Road to Oberlin Road. Both options would be detrimental to both through traffic and to the businesses along Cooper Foster Park Road.
• Providing the TWTL the full length with the addition of the bike lanes allows for two-way maintenance of traffic.

Response from NOACA staff:
• Response indicates that road widening is desirable for maintaining two-way traffic during construction. This is not adequate justification for permanent road widening.

Comment from NOACA staff:
Sidewalks and bike lanes are included in the proposal.

Response from KS Associates:
• As stated in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guide for the development of Bicycle Facilities (2012) section 3.42 there is a significantly higher incidence of bicyclist-motor vehicle crashes with bicyclists riding on the sidewalk than with bicyclists operating in the roadway. Additionally, per ODOT L&D Figure 306-1E Sidewalks are recommended on both sides. In January, 2013, there was a pedestrian fatality within the project limits from the pedestrians walking along edge of pavement. It is the desire of the both cities to provide sidewalks and bike lanes. Bike lanes will connect with the existing bike lanes along SR-58 just west of the project.

Comment from NOACA staff:
TWLTL justification discussion in the report is not thorough; the corridor is estimated to meet this warrant based on incomplete counts. Based on our quick assessment for midblock left turn analysis,

• Only 30 minutes of midblock left counts. Need 1 hour of counts.
• Midblock left counts are not shown in 15-minute intervals;

Response from HMM regarding first bullet:
• Counts and supporting photos were suggested by NOACA.

Comment from NOACA staff:
Most of the crashes are at the intersection of Cooper Foster/Oberlin Roads; there are no recommendations for this intersection. Crashes are not abnormally high for the proposed 3-lane segment, relative to the adjacent segment that is already three lanes;

Response from KS Associates:
• The intersection of Cooper Foster/Oberlin is outside the limits of this project.

Response from NOACA staff:
• This intersection is included in the traffic analysis as being within the project limits.

Comment from NOACA staff:
Projected ADT in the application is too high (shows 30% growth); ODOT certified traffic included in traffic study shows almost no growth except at the Oberlin intersection.

Response from KS Associates:
• The application was submitted using the August 14, 2009 certified traffic counts provide by ODOT. As part of the updated traffic study, new certified traffic was obtained from ODOT dated September 6, 2013. The Projected ADT in the application should be amended to match the September 6, 2013 Certified Traffic. We have attached the certified traffic to this disposition.

Committee Review:

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Council (BPAC):
• The project sponsor should install pedestrian signals and crosswalks at all signalized intersections.

Executive Committee:
• No comments; recommended for Board of Directors' review.

Intergovernmental Review and Consultation (IGRC):

Public Involvement:

Comments from Lawrence Hall, Elyria Township:

There are several reasons I think this project is unjustified: 

• From an overhead view on Google maps, Cooper Foster appears to already have a three lane cross section from Liberty Bell east to just before Gargasz. At some turning points into businesses, it does become just a turn lane into that entrance. So it seems re-painting the road would be sufficient.
• $8.4 million can't be justified by saving a minute of commute time, which probably wouldn't happen anyway. Induced demand is well documented. Drivers currently avoiding the area would eventually start taking the road if it had greater capacity, so the increased traffic volume would offset the gain of a lane.
• Another justification is to minimize wrecks. This is unlikely. The road for the most part already has a center turning lane, so collisions involving people turning left are already minimized. A center turn lane would do nothing to minimize rear-ending of right turning vehicles or vehicles stopping at lights.
• Wrecks would in fact probably increase because of the increase in traffic volume that accompanies new lanes. The rate of collisions per vehicle may go down, but the overall number would go up.
• Another reason collisions wouldn't decrease is that a long center turn lanes allows drivers going straight to pay less attention to their surroundings because they know no one will be turning left in front of them. So they may be more likely to rear-end at stop lights or right turns.
• No one will ride a bike here. A community should not be able to meet guidelines for miles of bike lanes/complete streets by randomly installing lanes at scattered new construction sites that have no logical beginning, endpoint, or interconnection.
• Because the bike lines would lead nowhere and instantly be incredibly dangerous as soon as they ended, this project would eventually be used to justify several million more in spending to reconstruct other sections of the road to accommodate bikes. While I am in favor of bike lanes, doing it this way would be incredibly fiscally irresponsible.
• Bike lanes, even if done here and extended later, would still get little use because the distance between this corridor and residential areas is greater than most people would want to cycle. 

Last updated: 1/6/2015 8:11:27 AM