delgazette.com

The need is great for bell ringers

October 18, 2011

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KATE LIEBERS

Staff Writer

Concerned residents this week asked Delaware City Council to address dangerous traffic on Troy Road, citing incidences in which they believe motorists — including school bus drivers — are putting lives at risk.

Danessa Higgins appeared distraught when she retold how two buses “flew” down the road while she and a young child were attempting to cross the street.

“My heart sank,” Higgins told council.

She said a similar incident happened shortly thereafter, when a bus drove in front of her son as he was running across the street.

“I’m speaking for my children, and the kids on Troy Road, because this is absolutely ridiculous,” said Higgins.

Under state law, the child may have forfeited his right of way by suddenly leaving a curb to run into a vehicle’s path.

Nevertheless, the incidences were “questionable” and signified an opportunity to re-instruct the bus drivers, said Delaware City Schools Director of Facilities and Transportation Larry Davis.

He said the supervisor re-instructed the bus drivers on “how they should conduct themselves.”

Yet others suspected that the bus drivers are not the only ones in need of a refresher course.

Corey Schwab, another Troy Road resident, said commuters “race up” Troy Road after waiting in rush hour traffic. He said he is especially concerned about the road’s proximity to three Delaware City school buildings.

Schwab asked city council to consider reducing the speed limit between Central and Pennsylvania avenues from 35 to 25 miles per hour — “so that it’s not a racetrack.”

The concerns came as no surprise to Delaware City Police Chief Russ Martin. He said the police department has been working with the city engineer to find comprehensive solutions.

“We don’t want to throw enforcement at something and walk away,” Martin said. “We want to make a substantial difference.”

The first step, he said, was installing a stealth stat device that collects data such as when people are speeding, the average speeds, and the highest speeds.

In a former case, the device revealed that the speed limit was obeyed and witness accounts of extreme speeding were merely perceived, Martin said.

If speeding is determined to be a problem on Troy Road, the data will help engineers decide the best way to address it, he said.

Martin said posting yard signs to raise awareness or directing additional enforcement to the area may be possible solutions. The stealth stat device will continue collecting data after a solution is initiated so that the department can gauge its effectiveness, Martin said.

City Manager Tom Homan said, if warranted, the city could also lower the speed limit, as Schwab suggested.

Yet Homan suspected that public education may play a more significant role in improving the safety of the area. He said the city is working with the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission on that very topic.

Martin advised anyone with a concern to call the police directly.

“When people complain, we respond to that,” Martin said.

Delaware City Council is expected to discuss the issue again during its next council meeting, at 7 p.m. Oct. 24.