The need for speed has become a big problem for residents in Pleasant Township. Now township officials are looking for solutions.
Pleasant Township is working with state senators and the Ohio Township Association to pass Senate Bill (SB) 48, which would permit townships to set their own speed limits on township roads under their jurisdiction. State Sens. Tim Schaffer (district 31) and Steve Stivers (district 16) are backing the bill.
Peter Voderberg, a legislative aide for Schaffer said the measure is making progress but it still has a long way to go.
"We have been trying to get it through for a while but we have been unable to find middle ground," he said.
Many Ohio townships, including Pleasant Township, have seen recent growth. New homes and commercial development mean increased traffic on roadways. Yet many speed limits remain the same. Residents in Pleasant Township have complained that drivers exceed speed limits on rural and residential roads. They are concerned for their safety.
According to Voderberg, SB 48 would permit a township to alter speed limits on roads maintained my the township, only after an engineering and traffic study. That study would measure not only speed but the number of cars and type of traffic in the area.
Currently, the township can request a traffic study and those results would be forwarded onto the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), which would decide if a change in the speed limit is warranted. Voderberg said they are working with ODOT on this measure though most townships want to lower speed limits without consent from ODOT.
Pleasant Township will be involved in future discussions on this measure. At this time there is no word on when SB 48 will be voted on.
Meanwhile, township trustees are considering ways to monitor speed and other crimes.
They are seeing if they could afford a full-time deputy. Pleasant Township would contract with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department. They would have one deputy stay in the township for 40 hours a week.
"We have to look at the cost and see if it is feasible," said Chairman Keith Goldhardt.
This would cost the township approximately $62,000 per year. The township would then get to decide where and what time that deputy was most needed.
"The entire township needs attention," said Goldhardt. "We could just use some added protection."
Though speeding is the primary reason officials want a dedicated deputy, Goldhardt said the township has also seen a rise in break-ins and theft.
The sheriff’s department already covers the township but this would keep a deputy in the area, though they could leave in an emergency situation.
Goldhardt said if the township can afford the deputy, they will form a citizens group that will decide where the deputy is needed most and at what time.
"Right now we are on the ground floor with this idea," said Goldhardt. "This is not something that is going to happen overnight."