By Amanda Amsel
Some residents in Prairie Township believe students at Stiles Elementary School are not being properly protected.
Bob Voss voiced his concerns about the lack of sidewalks and school traffic lights around the school at a recent township board meeting.
“This is extremely dangerous,” Voss said. “One day a child is going to get hit by a car and I want this fixed before that happens.”
A former school crossing guard, Voss said speeding is an issue in this area, which is why it is essential that a traffic light be there.
“We have been talking to the Franklin County Engineer about traffic control in this area and signage warning drivers that this is a school zone,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator. “They have said they haven’t been proactive about this because the speed limit is only five miles per hour over the school zone limit.”
A school zone speed limit is 20 miles per hour and currently the speed limit around the school is 25.
South-Western City Schools, the district this school is in, has said the lights are installed at the discretion of the Franklin County Engineer’s Office.
“We are always concerned about the safety of our students,” said Sandy Nekoloff, executive director of communications with South-Western City Schools. “We rely on the expertise of the (Franklin) County Engineer’s office to install traffic lights where their studies indicate they are needed. We would have no objection to the county placing a traffic light on Grener Avenue for safety reasons.”
According to Hatmaker, the Franklin County Engineer is conducting a traffic study in the area and will be working with the school district and the township to implement changes to the area if necessary.
During the meeting, Voss also complained about a hole in the fence near the school that is letting students cut through instead of using the foot bridge near the school.
“The hole in the fence is a result of vandalism. We have repaired this area of the fence numerous times and vandals continue to do damage to the fence,” Nekoloff said. “We will be repairing the vandalism again next week. Neighbors should contact the police when they witness this type of vandalism taking place.”
Hatmaker said the township has no plans to install sidewalks in the area and isn’t sure if sidewalks would be beneficial.
“This area is a mix edition so I’m not sure that this would be a good place for sidewalks,” he said. “This is a low density area so we are trying to add sidewalks to areas in the township that will be most beneficial to township residents.”