STRONGSVILLE – The proposed slip ramp from southbound Interstate 71 onto Howe Road is still on the minds of many residents. It is also on the minds of councilmen and city administration.
While not a lot has been said about the slip ramp recently, one councilman spoke his mind about the subject during caucus prior to the July 18 regular council meeting.
Ward 3 Councilman Jim Carbone stated he believed there was a problem with traffic congestion in the Howe and Royalton roads area, and that something needed to be done. He has reservations regarding a slip ramp, however.
“What we may disagree on is the project. The research I’ve done scares me a little bit,” he said. “We’re the stewards of the people’s money. When we are spending this type of money, whether it’s coming from our pocket or the state it’s still our money. I do have some reservations.”
Carbon wants to expand the scope of the engineering study to include the area south of Shurmer Road. He requested that the city of Strongsville looks at other options to alleviate traffic including a slip ramp onto Boston Road.
“My whole thing is safety. We don’t want to create another issue where our residents or people visiting our city are not safe,” he said.
Carbone contacted NOACA (Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency) to get an engineering study performed south of Shurmer with a focus on Boston Road.
Getting an interchange off I-71 onto Boston Road is a long shot. Carbone wants to look long and hard, however, at a Boston slip ramp option.
“The same concept we are looking at for Howe and Shurmer could happen at Boston that would connect with North Carpenter,” he said. “If we did a slip ramp that was three lanes connecting with North Carpenter you would have a right turn that would take motorists west or east, which would be a left-hand turn. That would also help our residents on Howe Road.”
The study of a slip ramp onto Boston Road is more crucial, according to Carbone, due to NOACA appropriating more than $10 million toward the widening of North Carpenter Road.
“Maybe this makes more sense since we are going to look to NOACA for funding,” Carbone said.
Residents also came forward at the July 18 council meeting to state their concerns with the slip ramp project.
Shurmer Road resident Joanne Talpas asked council whether there was a “red light” to the project.
“I’ve been told multiple times it’s just a study, but anyone who manages their family’s finances, or in this case the city’s, would not seek to do a project and not move forward with it,” she said.
Talpas added when addressing council, “If you or any of your children or anybody directly related to you lived in that neighborhood you might have been persuaded to vote differently.”
Fellow Shurmer Road resident Marcy Luchesse, who volunteered at the recent Homecoming, also stated her opposition to a slip ramp in her neighborhood.
“It was a choice to donate that time, but I’m also donating my free time attending council meetings because I’ve lost faith in my local government,” she said. “You’re not doing what you can to protect my neighborhood. I’m not a politician, but I will spend my free time contacting ODOT, signing petitions, putting signs in my yard and doing what is ever necessary to protect my neighborhood. My neighbors and I are not going away. We will be here the next council meeting.”