Prairie Township is getting the community involved to try and solve the problem of speeding, especially along Beacon Hill Road.
A highly publicized public meeting took place Jan. 9 at township hall to address speeding specifically along Beacon Hill Road. About 30 concerned residents came to voice their opinions on possible solutions to the problem.
The board of trustees approved an agreement with the Ohio Public Works Commission for a grant that covers 75 percent of the estimated $1.9 million cost of rebuilding a portion of Beacon Hill Road.
Township administrator Tracy Hatmaker said now is the time, during the rebuilding process, to address the possibility of adding control devices that would deter speeders. Work on the roadway already approved includes resurfacing, grading, curbs and gutters, new water lines and sidewalks.
Residents discussed a variety of traffic calming devices which included blinking stop signs, traffic circles and raised intersections as ways to slow down traffic.
Brian Hagerty, an engineer from Stantec, said engineers have studied traffic patterns along Beacon Hill Road and they said small traffic circles combined with raised areas would be the best choice for the roadway. All stop signs along Beacon Hill would be eliminated, he said.
"Stop signs are not a reliable way to control speeding," Hagerty said. "There are a large number of tools to maintain speed. We propose traffic circles that can also incorporate green spaces."
Hagerty said the intersection of Maple Drive and Beacon Hill Road would be a good place for a raised intersection along with the installation of a traffic circle.
"It would be similar to the roundabout on Grener but smaller," Hagerty said. "The plan is to do away with all the traffic signs."
Resident Matthew Janssens said he did not like the idea of taking all the stop signs away from Beacon Hill and adding traffic circles as calming devices.
"You are going to have people racing two blocks at a time instead of one," Janssens said.
While some residents agreed with Janssens, others suggested all-way stop signs as a solution or doing nothing.
In the end, the consensus among neighbors was that the problem needs to be addressed; whether it's in the form of traffic circles or stop signs is yet to be determined.
"Speeding is an epidemic in the community, period," resident Shannon Kelsey-Knapp said.
Trustee Steve Kennedy said the number one complaint at every township meeting has been the issue of speeding. The township has even invested in purchasing a speed trailer to help deter speeders, he said.
"We are here to take input only," Kennedy said. "We wanted to address the problem while the road project is going on."
Hatmaker asked that residents not get frustrated, that there is a solution out there. The township will continue to take input from residents until a solution is decided on by the board, he said.
"There is too much money coming in from the state and too much community interest to see this as a failure," Hatmaker said. "This is something we are all going to have to do together."