Route 91 Crossing: Will a Flashing Sign Make It Safer?
Some members of the Solon City Council disagree whether a flashing signal will make a horse and pedestrian crossing at SOM Center and Hawthorne Parkway any safer.
TAKE OUR POLL: Will a flashing light make this crossing any safer? Head down to the bottom of the article to take the poll!
Some members of the Solon City Council disagree whether a flashing signal will make a horse and pedestrian crossing at SOM Center Road and Hawthorne Parkway any safer.
Since a number of horse-riding enthusiasts are concerned that the crossing is dangerous, city officials have been trying to work out a solution to improve the perceived safety of the crossing. Residents say that drivers are too distracted and driving too fast and often don't see those wishing to cross.
"I feel there is a warranted need for a signal because society as a whole has gotten rude," said resident Tess McCarihan. "We can’t let them get away with it.”
The proposal is to create a series of flashing lights that would be activated by a rider or walker so that cars driving up and down SOM Center would be alerted that someone was using the crosswalk. Riders have said they want a stop light, but the intersection does not meet state requirements.
Not every member of Solon City Council's safety committee, which is considering the project, agree that its needed.
Councilman Bill Russo said that if the main problem is people not paying attention while their driving by, he doesn't know how a flashing light will help.
"I don’t know how that’s going to change anything," Russo said.
But Councilman Ed Kraus said a flashing signal would make a difference.
"People who have been driving this road for years and years don’t even notice there is a crosswalk there," he said. "I think some form of device, with some flashing motion, is going to get their attention."
While many residents consider the intersection dangerous and say there have been many close calls, there have not been any pedestrians or horses involved in crashes there in at least the last five years, said Police Chief Chris Viland.
Since 2005, there have only been three accidents at the intersection, Viland said in September.
The flashing-light system would cost an estimated $40,000 and city officials are hoping the Metroparks will help foot the bill.
While the Metroparks have said they support the city's plans, the city has not heard back from park officials about the project in some time, said Mayor Susan Drucker.
The item will be back on the safety committee's agenda in April.