Portage mayor goes to mat for traffic light PDF Print E-mail
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS/Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 02 June 2009 09:23
PORTAGE – The village mayor is trying to turn a red light on the Ohio Department of Transportation’s recommendation to remove the traffic signal on Ohio 25.
Mark Wolford said he has received more comments on this issue than any other in his years as mayor and councilman.
“I refuse to let the town down,” he said during Monday night's council meeting. “Whether I win or not, I’m putting up a fight.”
The mayor plans on circulating a letter in support of the traffic light, getting signatures from Portage residents.
Wolford said he will send letters to Ohio Rep. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, and Ohio Sen. Mark Wagoner, R-Ottawa Hills. He also has a meeting on May 11 with the Wood County Commissioners and plans to contact the Bowling Green School District transportation department and Wood Lane.
Some of the issues he will cite in his letter and in his meetings are the post office located near the light, school bus stops and the families that live in the area.
Councilwoman Tamara Sharp said that while she would like the light to stay, she believes council – and it is a council decision, not the mayor’s, she said – should vote to remove it.
“I’m not a fan of putting off unpopular decisions. We have a traffic light that needs to come down,” she said. “Putting it off and thinking maybe we can wiggle out of it is inappropriate. … To me, the ethical thing to do is just do it. Don’t wait for the state to slap our hand.”
Councilman Doug Maas asked if there was any precedent of a village defying ODOT’s orders. Wolford said there was one municipality, but a court case ended up favoring ODOT.
“We have no choice,” Maas said.
Council tabled the issue until the June 15 meeting.
At council’s May 18 meeting, an ODOT district planning engineer said the village should take the traffic signal down and raise speed limits, based on traffic studies.
The traffic signal, installed by the village in 1929, does not meet any of the eight warrants in the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
“I think it’s because it’s a state highway. They don’t want anybody to stop. They want to maintain traffic,” said Council President Jay Sockman.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 June 2009 10:45

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