By Rick Palsgrove
A change in the speed limit on Swisher Road from 55 mph to 45 mph in Madison Township has area residents concerned that the speed limit is still too high.
According to Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst, a 2013 traffic study of Swisher Road conducted by the Franklin County Engineer’s Office recommended the speed limit change.
Brobst said in July 2010, Toy and Saltzgaber roads were reduced to 35 mph to match to the city of Groveport’s speed limit since little of those roads remain in Madison Township.
“Swisher Road didn’t qualify and remained a 55 mph road,” said Brobst. “Based on the recent traffic study, the township was told the county engineers recommended reducing Swisher Road to 45 mph and that the Ohio Department of Transportation would more than likely approve 45 mph as the study didn’t warrant a reduction to 35 mph.”
She said area residents were notified by the township the day the speed limit signs were posted on March 20.
Mike Meeks, traffic engineer for the Franklin County Engineer, said the Swisher Road traffic study weighted the average of five factors: accident rate (number of accidents/number of cars); the amount of development on a road; how the road was built (width and shoulders); how curvy/hilly it is; and two factors related to the speed of how people currently travel on the roadway.
“These are averaged together, with an almost ‘perfect’ score being 55 mph,” said Meeks.
Meeks said the county engineer did not do any speed studies in 2013 for Toy and Saltzgaber roads.
“Toy Road and Saltzgaber Road speed limits were revised in 2010,” said Meeks. “Because they were short sections of roadway, they were approved for a speed reduction by matching the existing/adjoining incorporated speed limits.”
In a letter to the Southeast Messenger, area resident Frank Jamez expressed concern about the 45 mph speed limit on the narrow, rough Swisher Road.
“…this speed is just too high for this area and someone is going to get hurt or worse,” wrote Jamez, who wants the township to conduct another traffic survey. “I would suggest coming out to Swisher Road and driving the posted limit and see for yourself if it feels right, especially if a car is coming toward you. A life could depend on it. Oh, and check out Saltzgaber and Toy roads also, both roads are wider, less residential and have 35 mph speed limits.”
The 2013 traffic study was made after residents in the Toy, Saltzgaber and Swisher road area complained to the Madison Township trustees that their once rural roads had become heavily traveled commercial arteries with modern problems. They said the additional traffic from warehouse workers and semi-trucks on these roads is wearing out the roads. Property owners claim the roads are now used by speeders and trucks that damage front yards.
According to Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall, in 2012 Groveport City Council adopted legislation prohibiting trucks from turning onto Swisher Road from Groveport Road.