Drivers using East Waterloo Street on their way into Canal Winchester now see flashing lights and a sign warning them to slow down.

The city paid $1,500 to install the lighted sign a few weeks ago on westbound East Waterloo Street just inside city limits to alert drivers that the speed limit drops from 40 to 25 mph, Public Works Director Matt Peoples said.

According to preliminary data, the sign is helping to slow traffic by nearly 10 percent in an area that has seen the highest number of speeding vehicles.

"Before the sign's installation, the 85th percentile speed was 33.6 mph," Peoples said.

Once the sign was in place, speeds dropped to 30.2 mph, he said.

"The 85th percentile speed is the speed at which 85 percent of the vehicles are traveling at or below," he said.

Residents who live on Waterloo and Columbus streets have appeared before Canal Winchester City Council numerous times to voice concerns about speeding drivers. More than 80 residents presented a petition to council in September, demanding a solution.

The city also hired an additional deputy this year to help target speed enforcement on Columbus and Waterloo streets.

"I travel up and down there all the time, every day, and everybody that I follow, they hit their brake lights when they see those lights," Councilman Mike Coolman said during council's Nov. 19 work session. "They are working fabulously."

But for how long?

"The concern: We've got 25 mph signs all over town that people don't pay attention to," Peoples told council members. "At what point are they no longer going to pay attention to flashing signs? We're trying to make those temporary situations."

As for other solutions, Mayor Mike Ebert has said speed bumps would not be ideal for a main thoroughfare in case of a need for an emergency exit. Other traffic-calming measures -- including a speed trailer and pneumatic road tubes to detect vehicle speed and traffic counts -- have been used in complaint areas.

The city also continues to develop a speed-control-guidance document that would establish a step-by-step process to determine if vehicles are traveling at excessive speeds on a particular street and the measures the city would use to get drivers to slow down.

"We're having (Columbus firm) EMH&T take a look at it from a technical standpoint," Peoples said. "They also work with many other communities and have gone through that (establishing a guidance document)."

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