Illustration for article titled A Road Ruined

What happens to a perfectly useable road gets tangled up in a mess of local government closed door meetings and bureaucratic bullshit? Short answer, it becomes a congested nightmare. This road, of course is known as Wooster Pike, or Route 50 to the rest of the country. Now for the long answer.


It all started in 2008 when the Village of Fairfax Council decided to do something called the Wooster Pike Project, unfortunately it wasn't an indie-band. It is a redesign of the 0.56 mile stretch of US 50 running east to west from the Frisch's Mainliner to the Mariemont corporate limit. It was a good stretch of road, no, wasn't an ultimate motoring nirvana, but a straight 4 lane road with 35 mph speed limit, two traffic lights and businesses on each side. To put it bluntly, it worked and it worked well. There were 9 residential roads that tied into it, 7 from the north and 2 from the south. Traffic flowed well at 35 mph and people had the ability to turn while others could get around using the other lane.

The project's idea was referred to as a "Road Diet," which I can only guess means stripping down the road to only 2 lanes and removing the physical weight of usefulness, because that is what happened. For a while, there was a turn lane that ran the whole length of the road, separating the west and east bound lanes. But recently, they have cut out large sections of the turn lane and put in slightly raised concrete sections that have a faux paver look to them. Many of these are in front of the businesses and a large one is right in front of the new firehouse. 4 of the 7 northern residential roads have been, "cul-de-sac'd" which has made getting to these streets difficult for both the people who live on the streets and emergency vehicles.


Watterson Rd, is the largest source of cut through traffic has also been fucked with, with parking alternating between the north bound side and the south bound side between blocks, with concrete bump-outs at each intersection forcing traffic to converge almost head on. At the Wooster pike intersection they replaced the, "out-dated" timed traffic lights with new ones that are supposedly sensor triggered, but are much slower to cycle. So now you can sit in the left turn lane on Watterson for a good 5 minutes before the light changes. Things are worse for people trying to turn off of Wooster onto Watterson or into the Midas on the other side. There you have a short chunk of turn lane, but no turn arrow. There is no frustration like having to sit through multiple cycles of the light as you wait for a gap in traffic long enough to safely make a turn. As a result, people have resulted to running the red light to make a safe turn!

Another awesome result of the reduced number of lanes, slower speed limit and out-of-sync traffic lights is traffic that backs up to near the Cincinnati corporate limit during peak hours of the day.


Sure, the Village of Fairfax has accomplished their goal of slightly widening some of the sidewalks and reducing some unnecessary utility poles, but in the process they have also ruined the main purpose of the road.

The project was green lit in 2008 and as of writing this in 2014, is still not finished.

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