It’s “lights out” at five intersections

By Jane Beathard

June 9, 2014

Stop signs will replace traffic lights at five London intersections in coming months, following action by city council on Thursday, June 5.

Council members agreed to adopt recommendations of a traffic study conducted earlier this year by Choice One Engineering. The study showed stop signs could replace lights at the intersections of East High Street and Dunn Avenue; West Center and South Oak streets; East Center and South Walnut streets; East First and South Union streets; East First and South Walnut streets.

Under an amended resolution accepted Thursday, all will become two-way stops — except the East First and South Union intersection where stop signs will halt traffic four ways.

London Public Library Director Mike Hensel disagreed with engineers’ recommendation for a two-way stop on Union Street.

Hensel said Choice One conducted the study during a week the library was closed and results did not reflect routine vehicle and foot traffic in the area.

Hensel urged council to make the intersection an all-way stop for the safety of library users.

Council members Dick Minner and Jason Schwaderer agreed with Hensel.

“Council should make decisions regardless of what the traffic study says,” Minner said.

Member Rodney Lauer noted plans to house a two-year technical college in the former London High School building will increase traffic on East First Street.

“Should we keep the (traffic) lights in place?” Lauer asked.

Safety-services Director Steve Hume said study findings are merely non-binding recommendations. Council has the power to add or remove stop signs on city streets at any time in the future.

In other routine meeting business on Thursday, council:

• Agreed to spend up to $1,500 more to mow grass around neglected and blighted properties in the city. Schwaderer asked how city workers determine if a yard is “neglected.” Hume said grass must be at least 8 inches high before the city assumes mowing duties. The owner is billed first, but most don’t pay, Hume said.

• Agreed to repay up to $40,000 in grants from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission with proceeds from sale of The Armory, 15 E. Second St.

Terms of a 2005 state grant that paid for improvements to the building required the city to repay the money, following sale to the owners of Mandy’s Day Care.

Council president Pat Closser said repayment is due when an agreement between the city and commission to use the building as a youth center dissolves.

• Agreed to spend $37,000 for a new police cruiser.

• Accepted a $2,000 donation from Madison County Hospital to purchase a “lift” for disabled users at the municipal pool. The hospital plans to conduct physical therapy sessions at the pool this summer.

• Agreed to cancel the July 3 regular council meeting. The only council meeting next month is set for July 17.

Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.