Pleasant Township tries to curb speed

When the Pleasant Township Comprehensive Plan Review Committee asked residents what some of their concerns were with the area, a common complaint was the speed limit on township roads. The issue was brought up again at the June 24 township trustee meeting.

"A lot of residents are concerned about cyclists and the children walking to school or playing outside," said Benjamin Weiner of the Franklin County Development Department at a recent comprehensive plan meeting. "They believe it is unsafe because the traffic on the roads is too fast."

Early last year, the Ohio Township Association (OTA) introduced House Bill 102 into legislation. The measure would permit townships to set their own speed limits on all township roads under their jurisdiction. Currently, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) sets the speed limits for all highways and roads, including townships roads, rural and otherwise.

"The Ohio Department of Transportation does a great job at everything else they do, but I believe they should let the speed limits be in the hands of the township," said Pleasant Township Chairman Keith Goldhardt.

A township resident asked Road Superintendent Jeff Karn if he could put up a "Watch for Children" sign, and asked the board if they could change the 25 mil-per-hour speed limit to a slower speed on Hiles Drive and Gays Drive. She is concerned not only about the children that play on the streets, but also her 1-year-old grandchild who is autistic.

"I told her we could put up a ‘Watch for Children’ sign up easily enough, but reducing the speed limit was a whole new ballgame," Karn said.

Over the years, many residents have requested their desire to see the speed limits reduced to the board, but as of now, that decision is out of their hands. To lower a speed limit, the township must have a speed study of the location completed and filed with the request to lower the speed limit, and then ODOT may approve or reject the lower speed limit.

"I would say about 90 percent of the requests to lower the speed limits are turned down," Goldhardt said.

On the opposite side, a township, city or village does not need ODOT’s approval to raise the speed limits.

According to the ODOT Web site, they feel it is important to set the speed limits that the majority of drivers consider reasonable.

However, one persons reasonable could spell accident waiting to happen for others.

"With these rural road, the streets are very narrow," said Pleasant Township resident Shane Gibson. "Sometimes you have to go into people’s yards just to get past.   

"That’s why I think the speed limits in residential areas should be less than 25 miles per hour."

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