ODOT listens to Lake concerns PDF Print E-mail
Written by By DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 10:23

MILLBURY - Three dozen Lake Township residents and business owners tried to get state transportation officials to give the green light to a traffic signal on Woodville Road at Tuesday's trustees' meeting.
But representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation said a traffic signal at the Millbury Road and Ohio 51 intersection could make problems worse.
"People look at a terrible situation É and they jump to 'we need a traffic light.' That isn't always the right solution," said David Dysard, district two deputy director. "We have to respectfully agree to disagree that a light is not the right thing É it would make the situation worse not better."
He said a signal could cause more rear-end crashes and disrupt the traffic flow.
Dysard did agree there was a problem on Woodville Road. He said ODOT traffic counters, while doing the study, couldn't believe the vehicles "darting" onto the road from business drives and the intersecting streets.
However, Michael Stormer, ODOT's district planning engineer, said the intersection met zero of the eight warrants in the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. They include traffic counts, if the area is near a school and accidents at the site.

The crowd, including a sister of a woman who died in a crash near the intersection last month, soundly disagreed.
Christine Shaffer was killed May 3 after pulling onto Woodville Road from the Mello Crème lot. The fatal crash was not on the official ODOT map of accidents because it didn't occur exactly in the intersection.
When her car was hit, it luckily spun away from the crowded ice cream store, said her sister, Carol Lambrecht
"Something needs to be done because if that car had flown the other wayÉ" said Lambrecht, who presented the ODOT officials and trustees a letter signed by the Shaffer family and asking for a traffic signal.
Six people were injured in a March crash in the intersection.
Solutions, including limiting business access, checking pavement markings regarding no-passing areas and doing a speed study, were also discussed. ODOT has also taken steps in the last month to try to straighten the diagonally-shaped intersection.
"You align the road, that's fine, but people are people and you know what they're going to do," said township resident Arlyn Brinker.
Trustee Richard Welling also asked how the ODOT studies could take into account everyone who avoids the intersection.
Mary Wiezbenski is one of those motorists. At her job with Caroline's Catering, she said she refuses to use the road after 3 p.m. to run to the bank or do any other errands.
Business owners were reluctant to change their entrances off Woodville Road. Al Adams of Adams Screen Printing said such a major change would put him out of business.
Robert Reino, owner of the Mello Crème that's been on Woodville Road for 38 years, said people have been trying for almost that long to get a traffic signal there.
"I think a traffic light would prevent a lot (of accidents). I do," he said after the discussion.
Area residents said they feel trapped by the dangerous road. Barbara Nichols urged ODOT to reconsider and allow the light.
"I understand rules and regulations. But right is right and you need a traffic light," she said.
Firefighter John Castellanos said the Ohio Turnpike, a railroad, an airport and Ohio 795 are all located in the township. But the crashes over the years on Woodville Road haunt him the most.
"Some of the most horrific accidents in this township have happened on Woodville Road," he said. "We need your help."
Dysard said there are tens of thousands of intersections in Ohio and ODOT must prioritize the ones that get signals. Those are the roads that have four or five crashes a year over a five-year period.
"That's a tough call. I understand É but we have got to go where we get the most benefit out of taxpayer dollars," he said.
Ohio Rep. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, urged everyone to continue working on a solution. "We can do better," he said.
After the meeting, trustee chairwoman Melanie Bowen said the board would pass a resolution at the next meeting asking for the speed study. The trustees, who have been working for years to get a light in that intersection, still want a signal there, she said.
"No, we're not going to give up," Bowen said.



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