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What's up with the Cleveland Road speed limits?

Cary Ashby • Aug 8, 2017 at 3:24 PM

Have you ever noticed there is a short stretch of Cleveland Road/U.S. 20 where the speed limit is 35 mph in one direction and 50 mph in the other?

Government officials said the discrepancy comes down to one part of the road being in the city of Norwalk while the other is considered Norwalk Township.

The 200 block of Cleveland Road is a 35 mph zone. The eastbound speed limit increases to 50 mph just before the U.S. 20 bypass and turns from 50 mph to 55 mph before the airport.

Going westbound into Norwalk, there is a warning sign about the upcoming 50 mph zone on U.S. 20 in front of the Ferrellgas property. 

There is a westbound sign warning about reduced speed ahead at the Cleveland Road curve before Hy-Miler. That curve is near the intersection of Whitfield Boulevard and Townsend Avenue.

The first sign for 35 mph westbound is in front of Williams Norwalk Tire & Alignment, 274 Cleveland Road.

Norwalk Public Works Director Josh Snyder was asked about the situation. He said between Circle K and Laylin Road, only one parcel of land belongs to Norwalk and the rest is Norwalk Township.

“Until Laylin Road is the city limits,” Snyder added.

Email correspondence in late March 2011 between the Ohio Department of Transportation and the city sheds some light on the situation. About a year earlier, Snyder had requested a speed study on U.S. 20 east of Norwalk near the intersection of the U.S. 20 bypass and Cleveland Road.

“Have you had a chance to look at the white paint marks for (locations of) speed limit signs on U.S. 20 east of the city? 
We are matching the statutory speed limit of 50 mph since there are areas that the city has R/W to the center line on U.S. 20 east of Laylin Road. 
We are getting ready to proceed with the signing work order,” wrote John Finch, who was the ODOT District 3 traffic regulation technician at the time.

Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light said the only complaints his department have had are from people pulling out of the Whitfield subdivision, saying drivers coming into the city are going too fast.

Also, Light said he attributes speed being a factor in accidents at the intersection of Cleveland and Old State roads because the westbound traffic on Cleveland Road is going too fast coming into Norwalk.

Dean Hales, of Old Orchard Loop, raised a concern about speed limits during a recent Norwalk city council meeting.

Because of the nearby curves and there being a 55 mph zone on one side and 35 mph on the other, he said “it’s very hard to get out of our development.” Hales told council members he would appreciate having signs posted for drivers to slow down since there are so many children in the neighborhood.

In response, Norwalk Law Director Stuart O’Hara said adjusting the speed limit can be difficult and doing so would take a collaboration between township trustees and ODOT.

Crystal Neelon, spokeswoman for ODOT District 3, said a portion of Cleveland Road is within both the city and township limits. She said it’s her understanding that the city of Norwalk conducted a speed study and submitted it to ODOT for approval.

“All speed limits are state regulated,” Neelon said.

Also, the ODOT spokeswoman said the speed limit in an area can be raised or lowered to meet the speed study. 

Each government entity has to conduct their own speed studies for their jurisdictions.

“That’s why it can be different on each side of the road,” Neelon said. “It really makes you have to pay attention to the speed limit.”

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