By Linda Dillman
Speeders heading westbound on East Waterloo Street into Canal Winchester now face flashing lights as they enter the city warning drivers to slow down.
A lighted sign indicating a drop in speed limit to 25 mph was recently installed on westbound East Waterloo Street in an effort to alert drivers to the change and slow down motorists ignoring speed limit signs.
“Based on our speed studies, East Waterloo had the highest amount of vehicles speeding,” said Public Works Director Matt Peoples, who had the high-profile sign installed at a cost of $1,500. “Comparatively, it is about the same as other notification measures—feedback devices, but more expensive that other non-feedback signage. It would also be less expensive than most of the physical measures such as road diets, medians, and bump outs.”
The new device is already having an impact on speeding.
During the Nov. 19 Canal Winchester City council meeting, Peoples said the flashing sign is helping slow down traffic by nearly 10 percent, according to rudimentary data.
“We base if off the 85th percentile speed, meaning the speed in which 85 percentile of the vehicles are traveling at or below (posted speed limit),” said Peoples. “For the study we did before the flashing sign went up, the 85th percentile was 33.6 and for the study after installation it was 30.2.”
While council and Peoples discussed the possibility of moving the sign around to different areas of the city as need dictates— according to a guidance policy—he said the city will make that determination if and when the present location no longer makes a positive impact.
“There are plenty of speed limit signs that drivers apparently don’t pay attention to now and we do not want them to become complacent with this sign,” said Peoples.
While speeding has long been a problem on the active thoroughfare, Peoples said an increase in the amount of vehicles in the area makes speeding more noticeable.