Pedestrian flashing light proposed for Portage


PORTAGE – It is likely there will be a light at the main intersection in town – just not the type village
residents are used to seeing.
After meeting with Ohio Department of Transportation officials last week, Mayor Mark Wolford will
recommend that council adopt a pedestrian flashing light on Ohio 25. Council meets tonight at 7.
In May, ODOT officials told Portage Council to take the traffic signal down and raise speed limits.
Wolford said Thursday’s meeting led to a compromise.
"We met, discussed some things and basically the (current) light doesn’t meet any warrants and we’re
aware of that," the mayor said.
"They have offered to put in some pedestrian crossing flashers that will flash when you push a
The new pedestrian signal would be similar to the one on Mercer Road for Bowling Green State University
foot traffic in Bowling Green, Wolford said.
"The flashing light will give the drivers some sort of notice that there is a crosswalk here …
which is one of the main things we were trying to accomplish."
The mayor said that once the pedestrian signal is activated, walkers will have the right of way and
traffic on Route 25 must yield. He expects the new signal to be between the post office and a vacant lot
across the street.
There is no timetable for installing the new light, since council must approve it first, the mayor said.
He expects late fall would be the earliest it would be installed.
The Thursday meeting with several ODOT officials included the mayor, Police Chief Bob Bartz, Solicitor
Paul Skaff, resident Gary Deutschman, who lives on Route 25 in the village, and Councilwoman Marcia
Wolford, representing the infrastructure committee.
The next day, ODOT officials came to the village to view the light and the area, the mayor said.
"I’m pleased that there was a compromise. You know, I’m happy the state was willing to do a little
bit for us and not (say) tough luck," Wolford said.
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
Since then Wolford has worked tirelessly, campaigning for the light. He contacted school transportation
officials, wrote letters to Ohio Rep. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green and Sen. Mark Wagoner, R-Toledo,
and ODOT, and made a presentation to the Wood County Commissioners. He also collected 200 residents’
signatures on a letter, all in favor of keeping the traffic light.
"I truly wish we can keep the light. But we just don’t meet the warrants," Wolford said.
"In a perfect world, they would say you’re right, you need to keep the light."
(Sentinel-Tribune photo)

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