Debate Heats Up Over Stoplights

by Katie Jeffries on March 18, 2010 at 9:55 am

Residents who live near Putnam Avenue in Zanesville are fighting to keep two of their stop lights.

"It is gonna be a racetrack, it is just going to be a death trap, I mean there are kids that cross that street daily and not just one or two, you know, they cross numerous times," says Dan Quinn the owner of the Sunshine Shoppe on Putnam Avenue and Harrison Street.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is recommending the stoplights at Harrision Street and Pierce Street along Putnam Avenue be removed. ODOT looks at the amount of traffic and pedestrians when deciding if a stop light is warranted.

"You put all those warrants together and if you meet enough of those you can put a signal up. If you don’t meet enough, you take them down and that is just a federal standard you follow when you are looking into put a signal up or take one down," says Zanesville City Engineer, Chip Saunders.

The stoplight at Madison and Putnam was found to be unwarranted and removed. Wednesday night residents held a public forum with city officials to voice their concerns at the idea of removing the other two stop lights.

"There is just such a steady stream of traffic we really need to have a stoplight to stop the traffic or cars are not going to be able to cross or pedestrians," says Joy French, the pastor of the First United Methodist Church.

Quinn worries that if the stop light is taken down it will hurt his business and French worries that if the stop lights are taken down traffic will not slow down enough at this cross walk for people to make it into the Lifewell Free Store.

"If the lights were taken down, the people trying to go to the Free Store would really have their lives put in danger," says French.

Many parents also urged the officials to count the number of children that use the crosswalks at the stop lights.

"That is definitely something we will look long and hard at before we take another signal down," says Saunders.

Saunders says he listened to the input and will do a study during a school day on the amount of pedestrians using the crosswalks. Saunders told the crowd that the studies for the Harrison and Pierce Street stoplights have not been done and no final decision has been made yet by the city.


Katie Jeffries