PokeStop raising safety concerns in Jackson Township

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By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

A popular game is raising safety concerns in a Jackson Township community.

At the Feb. 5 board of trustees meeting, township administrator Shane Farnsworth said he has received complaints from residents in the Emersonia subdivision who have seen Pokémon Go players parking their vehicles in intersections in order to catch the virtual characters.

“They apparently just stop in the middle of the road (and play),” he said.

Farnsworth said the residents who have called are troubled by this behavior and are worried it will only get worse as the warmer season approaches.

“This is something that does need to be addressed,” he said. “It certainly poses a safety hazard.”

But what can be done about motorists who drive around looking to catch Pokémon and find it acceptable to stop in the road to collect them? Not too much, admitted Franklin County Sheriff Deputy Jason Ronk.

“We have to catch them in the act and then we can address the issue,” said the community liaison after the meeting.

“But the thing I would strongly recommend is that people be smart; don’t play with your phone when you’re driving, be aware of your surroundings and obey the traffic laws.”

He said that these complaints are not isolated to the Emersonia community either.

“We’ve received complaints like this all over,” he said. “I’ve pulled over a few kids myself who were just sitting in the roadway, waiting for something to pop up.”

He said that while he appreciates that people want to get outside and play, they need to educate themselves about what is acceptable behavior.

“Blocking traffic to play games is not,” Ronk said.

In related news, trustee David Burris said he fielded numerous complaints related to speeding on Hiner and Home roads. He asked Ronk during the regular meeting whether he believed flashing solar speed signs were efficient deterrents to reduce speeding.

“I think they are a good deterrent while they’re posted,” he said.

Ronk added that he read a few studies that show motorists do reduce their speed once they see the flashing indicators.

“There is something that reacts in our brains when we see that and it causes us to slow down.”

Burris said he would like the township to see how much it would cost to order and post them in high speeding areas.

In other news, the next regular meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 at the Jackson Township Administrative Building, located at 3756 Hoover Road.

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