Residents worry about potential for increased traffic despite interconectivity benefits

Avon Lake

By Nicole Hennessy

Adding stop signs to either end of a street remedies most traffic problems, right? As some Avon Lake residents are finding out, not necessarily.

A proposed development on what Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch described as “the horse farm” near Krebs Road will provide interconnectivity for area streets.

“The homes that are existing in this area are going to have better response time from our fire
department,” said Fenderbosch at the March 20 Avon City Council meeting.

As some Parkside Drive residents have recently expressed, though the safety aspect is a bonus, not everyone is excited about the prospect of greater interconnectivity.

A pin-straight street prone to speeding drivers, Parkside’s traffic is due to pick up once the new
development is in place.

“The Hunt Club has about 200 homes that will be connected to Parkside Drive and all those homes will be coming down Parkside,” said Jennifer Hardman, a Parkside resident.

Hardman listed several other traffic concerns, paired with the fact she does not see greater convenience for her street with this improved connection.

“So we would like to talk to you about traffic calming to be put on our street … perhaps prior to connection,” she said.

Zilka advised her to work with public works Director Joe Reitz and reminded her this roadwork won’t happen for about four years.

“That is something we will look at and talk about with the police department,” said Reitz, commenting on the potential for increased traffic in the area.

Tammy Daws, also a Parkside resident, voiced concerns similar to those of her neighbors.
“We on Parkside basically feel that this new (development) creates a hierarchical road network that favors the new residents who get to maintain low traffic volume with their residential streets and cul-de-sacs, and that this connection basically concentrates the traffic and turns our street from a residential street into an arterial street, so we would really like to move forward with this traffic calming.”

Advocating for stop signs to be placed at either end of their street, other residents cited similar streets in the city that do have stop signs.

Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka, however, explained that, per state standards, stop signs cannot be used to control speed.

“The purpose of a stop sign is to control conflicting traffic movement,” Avon Lake police Chief Duane Streator said, reiterating points Zilka made.

For proper traffic calming, Streator said, “One of the things we have to consider is, ‘What is the issue?’ and ‘Is there an issue?”’

Sometimes what looks like a speed issue, he continued, could actually be a volume issue.

In reference to calming existing and anticipated traffic, some residents called for an addition of road infrastructure, like triangles at the top of the street.

Streator says it would be an “extreme” situation to justify this type of infrastructure improvement.

“I can’t recall a situation where we needed to go back and add something to a street,” he said, adding that most situations can be handled with “education and enforcement.”

Residents complain that once the police officers lose interest in an area or pack up and go home, the original problems persist.

Councilmen John Shondel and Rob James spoke out in favor of hearing more about stop signs, saying that just because the state or other cities advocate against using them for speed control, doesn’t mean Avon Lake has to blindly follow along.

They also acknowledged residents on similar streets have complained about speeding.

Rather than adding stop signs or speed bumps, which Zilka said have been proven ineffective
and actually become a nuisance, as cars speed over them anyways and create a considerable amount of noise in doing so, residents simply need to slow down and police officers need to enforce speed laws.

“The issue is that we have 25-mile-per-hour speed limits, we need to adhere to them; we need to enforce those and we will be monitoring the situation,” said Zilka.

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