Sylvania City Council’s streets committee voiced support for upgrading traffic and pedestrian signals along Alexis Road from Acres Road to Alger Drive, a move members hope will improve traffic safety without inconveniencing business owners.
Monday’s vote came after a public hearing held this month regarding an Ohio Department of Transportation safety study of the corridor, which found above-average numbers of injury crashes, rear-enders, left-turn collisions, and wet-pavement crashes.
Committee members discussed two options to reduce collisions on that part of Alexis: build a raised median as well as upgrade traffic signals, or simply update the stoplights and install overhead traffic signs. Ultimately they favored the latter.
Choosing only the signal upgrade is the cheaper option, estimated at $656,000 instead of $1.5 million to build a raised median as well. The grant hat could fund up to 90 percent of the work, said Joseph Shaw, Sylvania’s deputy director of public service. less costly project also is more likely to qualify for a state
“Doing the improvements to the signals alone makes financial sense,” he said. “It would cost us three, four, five times to do the signal upgrades on our own.”
The ODOT safety study found 62 crashes between Acres and Alger from 2011 through 2013. Thirty-five percent caused injuries, compared to a statewide average of 25.4 percent; 55 percent were rear-end crashes, compared to 30.9 percent statewide; 23 percent were left-turn related compared to a 5.2 percent state average; and 27 percent were related to wet pavement compared to 21.1 percent statewide.
Mr. Shaw said a raised median would likely reduce the annual crash average to 18 from 21, or one fewer crash per year than with just revamping the stoplights.
Dave White, who owns Dave White Chevrolet on Monroe Street south of Alexis, said he was concerned building a raised median would impair access to his business.
Councilman Mark Luetke said choosing the second option would keep business owners like Mr. White happy while reducing crashes.
“It just strikes me as a very prudent choice,” he said.
The committee recommended moving forward with the stoplights upgrade and also asked Mr. Shaw to study whether lowering Alexis’ speed limit from 40 mph might further enhance safety.
The full city council will have to approve the streets committee’s recommendation before the city can move forward with the project. Once approved, city officials must submit their grant proposal to the state by September.