Groveport officials are hopeful that the growing number of concerned organizations -- now including civics students from Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools -- may finally bring changes to pedestrian safety along state Route 317.

Groveport officials are hopeful that the growing number of concerned organizations -- now including civics students from Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools -- may finally bring changes to pedestrian safety along state Route 317.

At the May 11 Groveport City Council meeting, council member Ed Dildine reported to council and staff on a presentation made by a group of juniors from Matthew Stein's American Government class who favor implementing a School Zone traffic-calming device along the heavily traveled corridor.

Route 317 is a four-lane, 50 mph state-controlled road that connects U.S. Route 33 with Rickenbacker International Airport.

Eastland-Fairfield, Groveport Madison High School and Imagine Groveport Community School all are located west of Route 317. Many of the residential areas of Groveport and Madison Township, as well as a COTA bus stop used by some students, are located east of the road.

Council members Jean Ann Hilbert and Ed Rarey echoed Dildine's concerns about students walking along and crossing Route 317.

"We have lots of problems with children walking along Hamilton Road to get back home to the city of Groveport, and it's just a matter of time before something will happen and all we'll be able to say is that we were working on it," Rarey said. "This is long overdue, and I think it's great these kids are getting involved."

Dildine said it took middle school students completing a similar project before getting safety systems in place at the Hendron Road railroad crossing near Middle School South.

Hilbert added that the Eastland-Fairfield students are just looking for signs to reduce speed during school hours, but that could be the first part of a broader pedestrian plan for the area.

City Administrator Marsha Hall said this is a good time to have an additional push, as the city and schools are completing a traffic study with the county engineer as part of the new Groveport High School facility project.

"We're aware of the issues and our office has contracted for a traffic study based on the new school project and additional businesses in the area," Hall said. "There are some things the state can do to help alleviate this situation, but the best time to convince them to do it would be now with the school being built."

Groveport Madison Local School District officials were particularly outspoken about their concerns last school year when, due to funding issues, busing for most high school students was cut, increasing both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Madison Township officials shared the district's concerns, but as of yet have not been successful convincing Ohio Department of Transportation officials to deal with the problem.

"The students are looking at pedestrian access, not just vehicle access, and that will be important to deal with both," Dildine said.

Council asked to schedule a meeting with the students involved in the project to further discuss how all of the concerned organizations might get changes made to improve student safety.