The Canal Winchester Times

Engineer halts township stop sign request


Dozens of Blacklick Estate residents turned out at the Jan. 15 Madison Township Board of Trustees' meeting, hoping to hear that speeding cars in their neighborhood would be curtailed by new stop signs, but the request was instead stopped by the Franklin County Engineer's Office.

Michael Meeks, an engineer's office traffic engineer, told those at the meeting that a traffic study completed in the neighborhood provided no supporting evidence to indicate new stop signs should be installed.

"We took traffic counts at each of the six intersections and took photos and watched on sunny days to see how many school children walked through," Meeks said. "These are T-intersections and our standards that we have to meet for Ohio, which adhere to federal requirements, are part of what we call a Stop Sign Warrant Study."

Meeks said in order for a stop sign to be installed, the intersection must meet a minimum traffic count, along with any other pertinent factors, such as if the intersection is in a school zone.

"To get a stop sign, we need to see 300 cars in both directions on the main line road and 200 cars on each side street for eight out of 24 hours in a single day," Meeks said. "We studied all of the intersections and none of them met that.

"There were other discussions regarding the schools and children, as well as higher speeds which we looked into as well, and those also didn't apply."

Trustee Gary McDonald said he has lived in the neighborhood since 1976 and believes the traffic situation continues to degrade.

"I've been addressing this for the past couple of years and my issue is on Clearwater where it's being used as a thoroughfare," McDonald said. "From Fullerton to Sedalia, it is just a runway and straight shot and people don't slow down, so my concern is the children and people backing out of drives."

Trustee Victor Paini asked if the township would be required to follow the Franklin County Engineer'sOffice findings or if the township could still be allowed to put up stop signs on its own.

According to Meeks, going against the findings of a traffic study could make trustees liable for any accidents that would occur on that section of road.

Meeks also said trustees' desire to regulate truck traffic on Toy and Swisher roads would not be legal, based on a recent ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court regarding similar "farm-to-market" roads in Geauga County.

"The Supreme Court ruled that Geauga County couldn't limit trucks on the county farm-to-market roads," he said. "Without being a lawyer, I would say you won't be able to, either.

"We've invested a ton of money in Alum Creek and (state Route) 317, so we hope that attracts the truckers to those routes," he said.

Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst said the township will put up additional signs near the warehouses in the area of Toy Road, directing truck traffic to Alum Creek Drive.

"We can't afford to purchase truck weight equipment that we'd need to enforce weight limits and we can't afford to do anything illegal," Brobst said. "What we will do is put up signs to direct drivers to Alum Creek and we'll go and talk with the dock managers to see if they can help direct drivers and alleviate the traffic issues.

"None of these answers were what we were hoping for, but we're doing what we can," she added.