COLUMBUS (WCMH) — There is a noticeable difference at the corner of Thurman Ave and Jaeger St Tuesday. The intersection will have a blinking red light for three months before the light is removed and a four-way stop is put in.
According to Reynaldo Stargell, Traffic Management Division Administrator, the intersection no longer meets the federal requirements for a traffic light.
“The decision whether or not to put a traffic signal is traffic volume and pedestrian usage,” said Stargell.
Ray Charles Harrison has lived in the area since 1974. He went blind in 1986 and ever since, he has used his memory to navigate through his daily life. But over the years, things around his neighborhood have changed.
“They took out curbs completely. Now it’s a slight indentation where the sidewalk ends and the street starts,” noted Harrison.
Now, there is a major roadblock for Ray, who walks to and from his favorite cafe for his daily meals, crossing at Jaeger and Thurman.
Ray says right now he follows the sound of traffic to cross the street and with a four-way stop, that won’t be easy.
“They won’t stop long enough for me to hear them for me to know when to cross,” Ray said.
Dee Dabenport is one of the Merion Village Block Watch Coordinators and has always been concerned about Ray’s safety. She doesn’t think this change will be a good idea.
“It’s going to be a dangerous situation, ” said Dabenport.
NBC4 reached out to the city for some answers.
Reynaldo Stargell, Traffic Management Division Administrator says, “In that situation would be happy to have someone from our engineering team work with him directly to come to a safer solution. We will leave it as it is now or something different, we can do different things to suit his needs.”
When it comes to this particular intersection, Stargell says they listened to concerns from residents a year ago and again just recently. They took extra steps to make sure the change was warranted.
“In this particular instance, we took actual film video and reviewed that before coming to this decision,” noted Stargell.
He also noted that some of these developing concerns were never brought up in the past. “This issue never came up or that the existing signal didn’t have the audible warning devices.”
So for the next three months, the city is encouraging the residents to report any abnormal traffic activity. Stargell also says that there have been past “trial periods” like this where the light was never removed in the end. This is why they conduct trials before making a permanent change.
We will continue to follow this story and let you know what help Ray receives. We will also let you know the status of the light at the Thurman and Jaeger Roads intersection.