Portage light on flash, pedestrian crossing planned PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By Debbie Rogers/Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 15:57
Portage_Yellow_story
Traffic light at Portage now on "flash." (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
PORTAGE — The village’s lone traffic signal is getting a green light to change to a pedestrian crosswalk.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Mayor Mark Wolford said changes on the light were set to begin Wednesday. The Ohio Department of Transportation contacted him last week and said the “regular” signal, from green to yellow to red, would be switched to flashing. Signage indicating the changes will also be posted.
After 60 days ODOT will remove the light and activate a pedestrian crosswalk, Wolford said.
“I knew it was coming,” the mayor said after the meeting. However, he said he was surprised that it was happening now instead of late winter or early spring.
“I haven’t made my peace with it. But at this point, there’s nothing I can do until something happens. I did everything I could.”
During the regular meeting, Wolford said if an accident occurs at the Ohio 25 intersection during the 60 days before the crosswalk change, the process is delayed 30 days. If a second crash happened, the entire process would be reviewed.
The mayor said he has reason to be concerned. Over the years, four fatal accidents have occurred at that intersection with the light – all before 1975. In 1976, the village started its own police department.
Due to severe financial problems, Portage Council eliminated the police department last month.
“Now we don’t have the police. We don’t have the light,” Wolford said. “Let’s hope that nothing happens, but it’s a new traffic flow. … My concern is the safety of the residents.”
Council President Mike Brinkman also has reservations about the different light.
“I feel very similar to the way I did before. I still do not feel it was properly investigated,” he said.
Brinkman got involved in the light controversy last year when in May an ODOT district planning engineer said the village should take the traffic signal down and raise speed limits, based on traffic studies. The signal did not meet any of the eight warrants in the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
Brinkman ran for council and was elected in November. Tuesday was his second meeting.
The new signal, which will be similar to the one on Mercer Road for Bowling Green State University foot traffic, will be installed at ODOT’s cost. Once the pedestrian signal is activated, walkers will have the right of way and traffic on Route 25 must yield. The new signal is expected to be installed between the post office and a vacant lot across the street.
After several discussions with ODOT, council approved the light change in September and also changes to the speed limits in town, from 35 mph to 50 mph and 25 mph to 35 mph.
The light has been in the village since 1929.
Wolford said the combination of a police presence and the signal helped slow traffic through the village. He said he notices some trucks now as they travel through Portage, especially ones that are disobeying the laws.
“When you’re in the post office getting your mail … you feel it. You know he’s not doing the speed limit and he’s probably overweight.
“I know everybody in town will watch that corner now.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:22
 

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