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Ravenna will delay removal of N. Chestnut traffic light

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published: January 26, 2013 4:00 AM
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The city of Ravenna is taking a step back, delaying the removal of a traffic signal at North Chestnut Street and Central Avenue.

Ravenna City Council decided that more study is needed before removing the signal, citing the fact that many students walk home from Ravenna's new high school using that route.

Legislation was sent forward to remove two signals deemed unwarranted. Both signals are near schools that have closed -- Sycamore Street and Spruce Avenue, near the former Immaculate Conception Elementary School, and Clinton and Main streets, near the former Ravenna High School.

The city is in the midst of a major upgrade of all traffic signals in the city. As part of that project, a study was done to determine which signals would not be replaced.

Councilwoman Amy Michael, who works at Robinson Memorial Hospital on North Chestnut Street, says she has taken her own informal survey as she sits at that intersection daily. She said she has noticed numerous students crossing Chestnut Street in that location. Foot traffic, she noted, was not recorded in the city's traffic study.

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"There have already been two fatalities there in the past," she said. "It concerns me. It's a runway. We have to listen to people who live in that area."

City Engineer Bob Finney pointed out that a recent traffic study already determined that none of the three signals are warranted. Cities, he pointed out, are required to use the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices determine whether to add or remove a traffic signal. It is illegal to control speed with a traffic light, he said.

However, he said, he wants to study the entire Chestnut Street corridor and investigate the possibility of a pedestrian crossing at Chestnut and Washington streets, with a light and signs alerting motorists to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

"I do think council is being emotional," he said.

Finney pointed out that if the traffic signal is replaced, it will be controlled by camera. Since few cars per day turn from Central to Chestnut, the signal would remain green for Chestnut Street motorists most of the time. And the signal, he pointed out, won't necessarily prevent crashes.

"Sometimes a signal can cause a crash, because it gives people false hope that a car is going to stop," he said.

Michael said she didn't believe a traffic study was done to warrant the signal in front of Ravenna High School on North Chestnut Street.

"You can't put a price on the life of a child," she said. "The life of a child is priceless."

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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anonymous Jan 28, 2013 4:18 PM

Traffic going north on Chestnut is a raceway because people want to get through the Central light that has no business being there.

And let's see Amy, the kids get out of high school at 2:15. The majority cross Chestnut at the high school where there is a cross walk and police to monitor the traffic. Yes some cross at the railroad tracks in front of Circle K, but that is not Central, that where the bike/hike trail crosses and there there is no light.

Robinson has the majority of it's employees leaving at 3:30 or later. And I guess we don't need to worry about GE employees very soon. By the way, can we get rid of that light once GE closes?? Half the people are so used to it flashing that unless they see someone else stopping they blow through it. I will admit, I have been driving in town for over 30 years and have done that once or twice myself.

But back to the focus on the high school kids, there is an hour and 15 minutes before the RMH exits release all those speed demon drivers on the poor city of Ravenna. So those kids are long gone by that time unless they happen to be hanging out at Circle K getting juiced on a Monster or a couple of 5 hour energy drinks so they can go home and play video games all night.

You might need to call Dr Calfee about the light at the high school, but I believe there is a state mandate that since the exit is on a four lane road, they were required to put in the light at the high school. So if wasn't a for it, that was probably the reason.

So I say enough with the studies and the waste of time and money to do them. Remove the light at Central and be done with it.

You can ask the police to monitor the traffic for a couple of weeks and see how things flow after the light is removed. But I think you will find that everything will be just fine.

anonymous Jan 28, 2013 12:24 PM

Typical ODOT thinking - only cars matter. People weren't even considered. Go get 'em Amy! Thanks for standing up for people verse cars only!

anonymous Jan 26, 2013 12:40 PM

I'm surprised Miss council person noticed anything. With cell phone glued to her ear and always goin fast. Yep Chestnut St is a raceway all right.