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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.

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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 , city officials have been 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 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.

Richard Eshleman March 16, 2012 at 12:39 PM
It is up to the pedestrians and riders to cross when there is no traffic. A flashing light would do very little, if anything, to make it "safer". Why should the taxpayers have to foot the bill for the very few people who ride across route 91?
Deborah Gallagher March 16, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I think horse riders should dismount the horse, and cross by leading the horse to the other side safely if they decide to cross the road. Maybe put a bench or something to ease the transition off and on the horse at each side of the roadway. Crossings would be faster for the traffic, and riders would be safer, horses less spooked by traffic.
Heinz Knall March 17, 2012 at 02:52 PM
"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.” I think that statement sums it up fairly well. That intersection does have a legitimate crosswalk requiring motorists to stop for pedestrians. Why not stop for people on horseback? DOES IT PUT PEOPLE OUT THAT MUCH TO SHOW A LITTLE COURTESY? Realistically, what's it going to cost the average motorist, 10 or 15 seconds out of their busy lives? The dismounting while crossing idea sounds good, but I'm not a rider. My guess would be that if the horse gets spooked, its better to be on it and in some control, rather than chasing it on foot.

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