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OUR VIEW: Dangerous intersection needs a light

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:50 PM

The Reflector has said in the past the city should ignore an engineering survey that states a traffic signal is not needed at Cleveland and Old State roads. In light of the Norwalk Police Department's end-of-year report, it bares repeating

In most situations, we would encourage the city to do as it is and follow the advice of the engineering experts and the Ohio Department of Transportation. However, the Norwalk Police Department's report lists Cleveland and Old State as the city's most dangerous intersection with nine accidents last year.

Nine might seem like a small number compared to the 416 total accidents in the city, which means about 2 percent of accidents in Norwalk occur at that location. Some people might ask if the need justifies dropping $100,000 on a traffic signal.

However, if the city is serious about working to increase traffic safety, this intersection is the place to start not only because it is the most dangerous but also because it has been the least addressed. The next four intersections on the list of crashes Milan and Gallup avenues, Milan Avenue and Westwind Drive, Whittlesey Avenue and Monroe Street, and Whittlesey Avenue and League Street all have traffic lights already.

The city plans to install $6,500 stop signs with flashing LED lights at the intersection in order to "alert drivers that this is a dangerous intersection." But most drivers already know it's a dangerous intersection. The problem is not that they are caught unaware.

Norwalk Safety-Service Director Dale Sheppard said the crashes are primarily caused by driver impatience. He said motorists do not want to sit at the Cleveland Road stop sign, so they attempt to get across Old State Road as soon as they see a break in traffic.

Now, we might not be traffic engineers, but if the location already has a stop sign, and the problem is not drivers failing to stop, then it would certainly seem the flashing stop sign is not likely to create a noticeable difference.

The only true cure for driver impatience is a traffic light, which will create a reasonable flow of traffic that everyone can live with. We hope the city will reconsider the situation and see if it can find the money for this needed addition.

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