By Linda Dillman
A decades-old pair of traffic lights in the heart of Obetz—currently flashing a permanent yellow—will become a memory as the village plans to remove them.
According to Obetz Village Administrator Rod Davisson, the signals were initially installed at the behest of businesses wanting to slow down travelers through the village to draw attention to their stores. A few of the businesses worked in conjunction with the village back in the 1950s to fund the installation at a time when the number of cars driving through the area per day was estimated around 200.
When asked how removal of the lights will help traffic flow, Davisson said, “(There will be) less backup of the Groveport Road traffic.”
The number of vehicles passing through per day currently is approximately 15,000 and, while removal of the lights was scheduled for the end of September, Obetz Village Council extended the action for an indeterminate amount of time.
“Several years ago—it may have been six years—Mayor (Greg) Scott and council discussed renaming Groveport Road in the Obetz jurisdiction,” said Councilwoman Bonnie Wiley. “We talked about removing the traffic light then. The traffic in the area lessened somewhat for the area. The light was changed to blinking on the weekends to accommodate community needs. No renaming of Groveport Road has happened as of today.”
Wiley said since Amazon truck traffic increased, the need to remove the light became an issue again. Traffic backs up during critical times of the day, so it became necessary to remove the signals to keep a constant flow, especially during weekdays.
Crosswalk markings across the street in front of the hardware store were discussed by council in consideration of pedestrian safety and left to the administration to develop.
“As a member of council, the outpouring of comments from the public was my focus,” said Wiley. “The traffic light was interrupting the ability of our residents to freely move around Obetz. Also, it would help Amazon with the expeditious delivery of their merchandise.”