Written by Larry Limpf
November 20, 2009
The speed limit for much of State Route 51 in Lake Township will likely be dropping to 50 mph in the near future.
The township trustees have reluctantly agreed to a recommendation by the Ohio Department of Transportation to lower the limit to 50 mph from 55 mph between Fostoria and Pemberville roads. The limit will remain 45 mph between Pemberville Road to the east corporation limit of the City of Northwood.
The trustees Tuesday unanimously agreed to the 50-mph limit after ODOT rejected their request to lower the limit to 45 mph for all of Route 51 in the township.
In a letter read by Melanie Bowen, who chairs the board of trustees, the state agency said it conducted a second review of the proposed lower speed limit but “…the criteria used for the Speed Zone study results in the recommended posted speed limit of 50 mph from Fostoria Road to Pemberville Road and as posted speed limit of 45 mph from Pemberville Road to the east corporation limit of the City of Northwood.”
The trustees earlier this year had approved a resolution asking ODOT to lower the Route 51 speed limit to 35 mph after the agency rejected their request to have a traffic light installed at the corner of Millbury Road and Route 51.
Frustrated by several accidents near or at the intersection, including a fatal accident in May west of the intersection, the trustees for years have been trying to have a traffic signal installed at the corner. ODOT, however, has said the number of accidents and other factors doesn’t meet the criteria set by the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices to warrant a signal.
The agency is proposing other upgrades to that stretch of Route 51 including:
• Establish a no-passing zone between Millbury Road and Cason Street.
• Install “Intersection Ahead” signs to alert Route 51 traffic of intersections at Fostoria, Bradner, Walbridge, and Pemberville roads.
• Add “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” signs to stops signs already in place at the Fostoria Road intersection and use pavement markings to “square up” the intersection, which was also done at the Millbury Road intersection.
Trustee Ron Sims directed Police Chief Mark Hummer to let ODOT officials know the township is accepting the agency’s proposed 50-mph limit and the upgrades.
After hearing a brief presentation on senior fitness programs at the Eastern Community YMCA, the trustees agreed to seek an opinion from the Wood County prosecutor’s office on the legality of using general fund revenues to help local seniors pay for participating in the programs.
Yvonne Thoma-Patton, who conducts the Active Older Adults Program at the YMCA, outlined how other communities, including the City of Oregon, partially subsidize the cost of the program for senior residents.
She said the City of Northwood has been in talks with the Y about the program and the Village of Walbridge is deciding whether to continue with the program in 2010 for its seniors.
Aquatics and other exercise classes are offered.
Oregon funds its participation in the program through a levy that funds the city’s recreation department.
The township has no such levy.
“The real question is can we do it?” Bowen said. “We need to do some homework.”