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Published: Wednesday, 6/27/2007

Sylvania Avenue slowdown mulled

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania is considering a plan to lower the speed limit on the portion of Sylvania Avenue that lies within the city limits.

Officials believe that part of the avenue, between McCord Road and Sylvan Lakes, is simply too congested for vehicles to be traveling up to the posted speed limit of 45 mph. They are considering a proposal to lower the speed limit to 35 mph in the city to improve safety.

Mayor Craig Stough said complaints have arisen about Sylvania Avenue's congestion along various locales in the city, such as near a Kroger store entrance and the Sylvania Senior Center.

Jeffrey Ballmer, the city's public safety director, said he and others are awaiting the results of an upcoming Lucas County traffic report based on speed studies.

One possibility could be a 40 mph speed limit in both Sylvania and Sylvania Township, for continuity.

In a letter to Mr. Stough, Sylvania Township Trustee DeeDee Liedel said trustees are concerned about the confusion that may arise if the city lowers the avenue's speed limit to 35 mph in its jurisdiction if the speed limit in the township, set by the Lucas County engineer's office, remains at 45 mph.

Changing just the city's speed limit "would be an added burden to residents and visitors of the entire Sylvania community as the speed limit would change five times in less than two miles for both directions of traffic," Mrs. Liedel said in her letter.

"In addition, eastbound and westbound traffic would have differing speed limits at different points on Sylvania Avenue. This may add to driver confusion and accidents, as drivers may miscalculate how quickly approaching traffic is traveling," she wrote.

Trustees want uniformity. They want the chance to work with the city on its traffic concerns, she wrote.

Councilman Mark Luetke said the city's decision is only half of the equation because of the township's jurisdiction. He said he wants the city to coordinate with the county engineer's office. He said he's willing to look at a comprehensive plan to create a consistent speed limit, whether it's 35 or 40 mph.

Councilman Doug Haynam said he's concerned about the existing speed limit during peak times when congestion occurs, such as during rush hour in the mornings and evenings. He questioned the time of day that the county is conducting speed studies.

Mr. Haynam said he believes a compromise can be struck to satisfy the city and the township.

Kyle Warner, an intern in the county's traffic engineering department, said he expects the county to finish its studies before council meets in July. Council has had two of three readings on the ordinance to reduce the speed limit.



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