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
“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
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.