By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
The city of Grove City recently changed the speed limit on Haughn Road from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour between Columbus Street and Mayfair Drive.
At the Nov. 15 meeting, Kevin Teaford, the city’s safety director, explained the decision to lower the speed limit to Grove City Council.
According to Teaford, who spent 35 years with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 20 people have died this year due to speed-related traffic accidents in Franklin County and hundreds of others were injured.
“Many of those fatal crashes were within sight of our city,” said Teaford, referring to fatalities along Interstate 270. “Fast driving habits don’t stay on the highway. They end up in our city streets where speeding becomes an even greater risk.”
Teaford studied traffic patterns on Haughn Road and the Grove City Division of Police conducted a speed survey. In his study, the safety director found that Haughn Road saw on average of 6,500 vehicles per day. He said for that type of roadway, the average is 2,500 to 7,500, so the road is on the high end of that average. Haughn Road intersects with Columbus Street, Kingston Avenue, and Park Street, which are also high-volume traffic routes.
According to Teaford, there have been 75 crashes on Haughn Road in the last five years and 19 percent of those were speed related. Most of the accidents occurred during standard daytime hours.
The speed survey, conducted by the police force, found that the average speed on Haughn Road was in the low 30s but the maximum speed found was 65 miles per hour.
“This change will make our city safer, and it will likely save lives,” said Teaford.
Teaford said one of the reasons the speed limit was lowered was due to vulnerable people on the roadway. This includes pedestrians and bicyclists. There is a bike path on the east side of Haughn Road, and between Columbus Street and Mayfair Drive, there are two schools – Hayes Intermediate and JC Sommer. Teaford said this puts more vulnerable people on the road.
“This needs to play a significant factor (in determining the speed limit) and it did play a significant factor,” said Teaford.
To notify drivers of the change in speed limit, the city has put up flashing speed limit signs. According to Teaford, police officers will allow a grace period so drivers can become accustomed to the change in speed limit.
Council president Christine Houk said she believes the community members support the speed limit change.
“By and large, I have heard nothing but positive feedback from people traveling that route,” she said.
Councilman Randy Holt asked if low-speed vehicles, or golf carts, are now permitted on Haughn Road with the decrease in speed.
The answer – yes.
In 2019, Grove City council passed legislation to regulate golf carts and similar low-speed vehicles. The legislation allows residents to operate the vehicles with restrictions for operator and public safety.
Under the city’s code, low-speed vehicles are not permitted on any street or highway with an established speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour. The vehicles are not permitted on the major thoroughfares in Grove City, including Broadway, Stringtown Road, and London-Groveport Road. The carts are also prohibited on sidewalks or multi-use paths.
To legally operate a golf cart within the city of Grove City, the driver must have a valid driver’s license and insurance. The golf carts must also pass an inspection by the Grove City Division of Police. An officer will check to make sure the cart is equipped with a windshield, rear view mirror, turn signal, head lights, brakes, steering wheel, seat belts, license plates, taillights, and a horn.
When asked if there were plans to change the speed limit on other city streets, Teaford said city officials were only looking at Haughn Road at this time.
“We will monitor complaints and safety issues,” said Teaford.