The Press Newspaper
A stream of complaints from residents and research by the village administration and council led to the decision to set the speed limit on main roads in the Village of Walbridge back to 35 miles per hour, Mayor Ed Kolanko said last week.
After conferring with the Ohio Department of Transportation, the village dropped the limit in September to 25 miles per hour on North Main Street, from Elm Street to the village’s northern corporation limit, and on South Main, as well as a stretch of Walbridge Road, which runs east-west.
Mayor Dan Wilczynski, who stepped down from office earlier this year, said at the time the lower limit put the village in compliance with state law.
However, after residents complained of the village becoming a speed trap, Police Chief Ken Frost and councilman Fred Sloyer, chairman of council’s safety committee, studied the issue further and determined the limits could be set at 35.
“Council and myself continued to hear dissatisfaction from many residents regarding this issue,” Mayor Kolanko said. “We listened to those comments and continued to research and work on what the village could do to remedy the concerns.
Last month, council approved an ordinance after only two readings to amend the village code regarding speed limits.
“Speed limit signs are correctly posted throughout town,” the mayor said.
Walbridge Road as it enters the village from the east was becoming a particular headache for motorists. On the west-bound lane into the village from an I-280 overpass, the 25 mile per hour limit was 30 miles per hour limit less than east-bound lane, which sits in Lake Township.
Worse, village police occasionally place a radar unit along the road.
Cecil Adkins, a former member of village council, was a vocal critic of the 25 mile per hour limit and even retained an attorney to review the Ohio Revised Code on the matter. Adkins also reviewed traffic tickets issued by the police department in 2011 and 2012, finding many speeding violations were for offenses of driving slightly more than 35 miles per hour in the 25 mile per hour zones, and concluded many drivers thought they were still on roads with the 35 mile per hour limit.
Last week, he said he was glad the limits had been set back to 35.
“I think it was common sense for council and the mayor to do that,” he said, adding township roads leading to the village have limits of 55 miles per hour.
In the neighboring City of Northwood, the safety committee has recommended city council adopt a 35 mile per hour limit for Drouillard Road, between Wales Road and the border with Lake Township, north of the village.
Randy Kozina, committee chairman, told council earlier this year the stretch of Drouillard meets ODOT criteria for a 25 mile per hour limit but the committee feels it should be 35. He noted there weren’t any residences along the road.
An attorney representing Adkins in January questioned the legality of the appointment, contending Frost couldn’t hold both positions simultaneously.
In addition to the full-time position of police chief, Frost was approved by council last May for the part-time position of administrator on a temporary basis.
Council on March 6 approved making the appointment permanent.
The opinion by Adkins’ attorney says having one person hold both positions violated the village codified ordinances and Adkins says he plans to meet with two new members of village council, Ken Gilsdorf and Ron Liwo, to discuss the appointment.
Mayor Kolanko has said he’s comfortable with the opinion of the village legal counsel that the appointment doesn’t violate the village code.