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Published: Friday, 12/15/2006

Road closure plan irks residents

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It s only about 1,000 feet of street, but closing a section of Cass Road between Glendale Avenue and Eastgate Road this week has generated some heat.

We ve gotten over 100 phone calls, Gary Stookey, a senior engineer with Toledo s transportation division, said yesterday, three days after a temporary closing began for a traffic study.

While a few were in favor, most of them are opposed to closing the north end of Cass permanently, he said.

At stake is a proposed expansion of Monnette s Market, 4760 Glendale.

Proprietors Marc and Mike Monnette said yesterday they d like to add a meat counter and wine section to their store but need more room for parking to do so. Marc Monnette petitioned the city Sept. 27 to vacate Cass between Glendale and Eastgate.

On Nov. 28, city council passed a resolution declaring its intent to do so, though city officials said the review process likely will take several months.

The test-closing of Cass, which began Monday and is scheduled to continue for 30 days, is part of that review.

Before we even start [vacating the street], we need to know what the traffic s going to do, Mr. Stookey said. This way, we ll find out what streets people will use, and whether we need to change the timing on any of the traffic signals. Plus, we get feedback from the community.

Gwen Milton, who lives nearby on Vosper Court, gave the closing a strong thumbs-down yesterday and said her neighbors share her sentiment. It s causing too much congestion and traffic, Ms. Milton said.

Mr. Stookey said several callers objected specifically to the notion of closing a public street to help a private business, though Monnette s and others whose property fronts on the affected stretch of Cass would have to pay the city for the right-of-way.

Council President Rob Ludeman, whose district includes the neighborhoods surrounding the Glendale-Cass-Eastgate triangle, said yesterday that besides helping a locally owned business, closing Cass north of Glendale except to provide access to apartments and a church would eliminate a very strange intersection at Cass and Eastgate.

Other officials echoed Mr. Ludeman s characterization of Cass-Eastgate as very, very dangerous as did Mike Monnette, who said the curve on Cass between Eastgate and Glendale is a particular problem but no accident data was immediately available yesterday.

The Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commissions is the lead agency for the official review.

John Widmer, a plan commission spokesman, said a formal hearing has been tentatively set for Feb. 8, once his agency has received feedback from the transportation division and other government offices and local utilities to which the matter has been referred for comment.

Mr. Ludeman said he expects some sort of neighborhood meeting concerning the proposal to be held in January, before the plan commission hearing. Additional hearings would be held later by council s zoning and planning committee and by the Board of Revision, Mr. Widmer said.

Marc Monnette, who with his brother owns two of the four Monnette s markets in Toledo, said the Glendale location has been too good to us to pull up stakes and move, so going elsewhere would be a last resort.

But he said he and his brother would not fight to close Cass if there is widespread community opposition to it.

The community is the reason why I am as successful as I am, Marc Monnette said.



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