Council woman not in favor of asking ODOT to develop travel plan for students

Norwalk's request is 'over the top,' Ludwig says
Aaron Krause
Feb 28, 2013


Norwalk city officials will apply to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to develop a school travel plan regarding the routes public elementary school students use to walk to school.

On Tuesday, council member Samantha Ludwig voted against applying, differing from her fellow council members.

She said the city is lucky in that Norwalk has good sidewalks. Also, she said she would prefer that the city continue to maintain good relations with the school instead of ODOT stepping in.

"I'm not really thrilled about this," Ludwig said. "This, I think, is just over the top."

On Wednesday, the Reflector published a story about this subject, including comments from the mayor and public work director, as well as other matters discussed by council. To read that story, pick up a copy of Wednesday's newspaper or subscribe to the e-paper (a complete digital replica of the entire issue) for less than $1 per week and read it now.



Agree. When it comes to the gov't, there's no such thing as "free" money.

Be sure to vote against wasting hard earned taxpayer money in funding Mayor Duncan's five yr. financial and the solid waste plans as well.

run for the hills's picture
run for the hills

Can't bring new jobs in but we can spend money foolishly. Thanks Mayor!


It appears Samantha Ludwig is a person with common sense, a person who actually thinks for herself! Keep it up, Samantha.


Okay, I'm confused. With less funds available for busing, we don't want free help to determine safe routes for elementary students to walk to school?

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Really we need the state to tell the children where to walk? Don't they have parents, another example of the nanny state does everything for us. Samantha please run for mayor, we need common sense in goverment.


yes please Sam...the safety of our children should have no price tag!


I think Miss Ludwig does not fully understand the ODOT SRTS program. It is not just about planning walking routes for kids going to school. It is much bigger than that. Ohio DOT has been way ahead of the curve when it comes to "best practices" and fiscal management when it comes to administering its department and managing tax payers money. States around the country emulate ODOT's practices. This program was set up to wisely manage Ohio tax payer dollars. With Ohio's balanced budget amendement; and dwindling federal funds the Ohio legislature is annually cutting funds that usually go to the local MPOs. With school budgets being cut, the first thing besides attrition (not hiring) is bussing and extra curricular activities. So any city with foresight has to take in worst case scenarios (as Norwalk is doing). There WAS funds in the forms of grants to help communities look at alternative means for transportation. These funds were usually tapped out by the major metro areas to sure up mass transit. As of late, small communities where applying to supplement or streamline their school transit systems. In many cases these communites did not need the service (1st come 1st serve). So ODOT has set parameters (litmus test to see who needs it the worst) to help communities design safe trancit (walking) within 2 miles of a school. They will offer their HIGHLY qualified design consulatants to do a comprehensive review of the areas 2 miles around your schools and reccommend safty upgrades to road markings, signals, widning of roads to ease traffic, pr campaigns to educate the public , enforcement and evaluations. If they see a need THEN they will offer additional monies vs the city applying for upgrades. When you look at the schools in Norwalk you have 2 on state highways (Main Street & St. Paul) and the rest within 2 miles of one. Norwalk is a prime candidate for such a service. If for some reason the Norwalk City Schools had to cut bussing services, this is what Norwalk would have to do but at their own expense and I am pretty sure with less resources. The city of Norwalk's duty is to it citizens NOT worrying about upsetting the city schools for something they are proponents of anyways for a service they are not capable of doing in house. Then the cit would have to go through the normal procurement process to fund these projects. I live in this community for its great schools, great people, great infrastructure and safety. Anything to improve the reasons why I live here I am for. This is not a slam on Miss Ludwig but i do not think she is looking at the big picture. It is not just about sidewalks. And I would hope ODOT would offer advices as that is what our tax $ pay for (Norwalk is in Ohio). Why recreate the wheel at the local level? Please look at how ODOT compares to any other DOT in this country and you may be surprised. Please look at the program and even call down to central office and ask questions. They are in the top 5 DOTs in the USA and we are fortunate to have them managing our infrastructure funds. I see it is already a done deal BUT some people are championing you accretions that are missing the mark. It is a win, win where tax dollars are being used where they are suppose to and not to supplement a big city's bloated mass transit. For me this is a quality of life issue as there is NO price on the safety of children! A BIG disclaimer, I do not work fo ODOT or any public entity. I am a small business owner that has worked with ODOT for years.

Simple Enough II

So our school and whom is responsible for city streets etc. do not cooperate or know what is necessary for providing a decent transit route for children?


DO YOUR HOMEWORK PEOPLE!!!! as my 6th grad teacher would yell :)

PARTNERSHIPS!!! School Board - City -State. the state is not telling us the best way for our kids to walk home... they are asking us how our kids are walking home and then they are telling us how we can make that egress safer!!!.

School boards DO NOT have city planning engineers on staff. School boards DO NOT have economic development folks on board to project urban sprawl. The school board is responsible for bus routes and preferred walking routes in coordination with law enforcement patrol. What this is all about is ODOT (Ohio Department of TRANSPORTATION) partnering with cities (including school boards) to come up with long range plans (includes projected development; population growth; infrastructure upgrades; PR safety campaigns all based on best practices). SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFTY. This is a Federal safety / education DOT grant where Ohio is putting it to best use!....... our kids.... our future! Not selling our local school board short, but that (Urban planning) is NOT part of their job description!

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Whe the Feds or State wants to "give" you something beware. The nanny state continues, maybe if these grants that always start at the federal level and channeled through the states were stopped our debt could be reduced. Norwalk already has put sidewalks in areas that I never see people walking on. Its not just tax dollars its debt borrowed from China.
No matter the real reason, always use "its for the children" to sell it.


HOW ON EARTH did Norwalk children find their way to school for umpteen decades without the state spending hard earned taxpayer dollars helping the city determine the optimal routes?

At a minimum there appears to be one fiscal conservative on the CC, are there any others?


Ugh, whether you realize it or not, the State not local did set those guidlines. It amazes me oh little people know how our local - state - federal interact. Those were set in the 70s. You think the 20 mph school zones came from local? Buses stopping at railroads! Funding for crossing guards! $ for designing bus routes! Approving who is served by busses and not! All NOT local!

Cliff Cannon

However this grant application turns out, is how it turns out.What I for one,find very cool,as well as very refreshing, is that Ms. Ludwig is willing to stand alone.


Kind of like stating an opinion on here that doesn't coincide with Contagious or Armcorns...

Kottage Kat

I am glad this is her" primary " concern
Given good information, people always wanting facts, when given they are disregarded.
Imagine all that good information and not one link.


The Feds are in this too.

"In July 2012, Congress passed a new transportation bill: Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). Beginning in October 2012, Safe Routes to School (SRTS) activities will be eligible to compete for funding alongside other programs, including the Transportation Enhancements program and Recreational Trails program, as part of a new program called Transportation Alternatives."

Recently read that there are 56 federally funded financial literacy programs.

Maybe members of Congress should avail themselves of those programs before they spend this country into bankruptcy?

swiss family

I am not sure that this is necessary.. I have to imagine that since every street in town has a house or houses on it, I think it is pretty obvious that every street will be used as an access route to walk to school...I do think However that it would not only be beneficial to look at all of the routes leading to school... but to also map out and identify and make available to at least the parents, where the convicted sexual predators live and even include a review of their crime and a picture of them if available..I mean if we really want to protect our kids from sexual assault, like we claim we do... wouldn't the more information the parents have and maybe even the kids have, the better they are protected??

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Maybe we can also chart where the most leaves will fall, which direction does the wind blow, who shovels their sidewalks before school and the child's horoscope. Lets hire a grant administrator, media relations person, and two secretaries to monitor this grant. Its only money that the feds can borrow to channel through the state to the city. "Makes us feel good, because its for the children."


Has ANYBODY read the ODOT SRTS program????? IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT PLOTTING WALKING ROUTES TO SCHOOL!!! It has more to do with long range planning for a city's infrastructure. they offer their resources to help with this plan, and in turn you can accept it or not. It does not obligate you to anything. It gives you a fast track to ODOT monies for infrastructure improvements. Lets turn it down on principle...... the state will spend it on a community that does not need it or is not proactive like ours and NOW it becomes a waste of Ohio tax dollars. It is much to do about nothing!!!! There is no "Federal Government Conspiracy to take away our rights. No back door "gotcha clauses. I also get the Freshwoman councilwoman Lugwig sticking to her principles of being weary of aligning with anything that is not organic (local). BUT we as conservatives have to STOP stereotyping!!!! When we use this "dump button" of distrusting everything that is not local OR not coming from people of like politics, it is used to hang our ideology when we are wrong from NOT doing our homework. I can say the sky is green to be different, it does not make me right yet some will respect me for being brave to stake this position. Our local politics tend to be conservative even our with our Democrat brethren! What irks me is when WE take the national political line and apply it to local politics. I do not think ANYONE can question the Mayor's politics! I do not think he would be quick to accept a government handout with typical government strings. Then at the State level, we have one of the most conservative legislators and governor in recent history. We have annual budgets. The States is July to June. For infrastructure budgets at the state level it is SEVEN years on average. Based on the annual state budget, they will fund as many as they can on their 7 year wish list. To be put on this list, there are naturally politics involved. A minor one but reasonable is being a willing partner to work with ODOT. If we are labeled as a community that is not on board (with a VERY conservative ODOT), good luck getting State & Federal funds for our infrastructure needs in the near future. They have a LONG memory and let me reiterate, there is a 7 year waiting list. They will maintain the critical "tourism corridors of 250 & 20 and the rest will be "off the radar". So my advice to the freshwoman Lugwig at the beginning of hopefully will be a successful political career, be careful of falling in the trap of being beholden to the national "party line" as it can come back to bite you in the worse way. With dwindling state and federal funds; dwindling tax base and yes..... politics, you have to be reserved before you take bold stands on items that like this is much ado about nothing. Like being weary of the Feds, I am also weary of our national GOP as they are clearly self serving; playing us like minions for their own self preservation. Getting us juiced up on peripheral items while President Obama and the Democrats marginalize us as a bunch of intolerant, paranoid Americans. America is changing and we are losing the war on getting our message out there but instead our opponents are framing our message for us. STOP LOOKING AT LIFE THROUGH A TOLIET PAPER ROLL!!

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This is from the ODOT website;
"School Travel Plan Development: ODOT will not provide communities monetary assistance but rather the services of a consultant if they are selected for school travel plan development".


I used to write lengthy monologues full of facts and common sense. I've found, however,that it does no good here. The trolls have opinions, and they never let facts get in the way. They think, like Conservatives in Congress, that if they impede everything, and then blame others, that they are accomplishing something. You'll bang your head against the wall, you'll learn, and you'll realize it's futile to feed the trolls.

Mr. Touchdown

Samantha is a good looking woman!


betrump ..... I guess what you are saying "ignorance is bliss" when it comes to people like this (trolls) that use party line "dump buttons" when facts fly in in the face of party doctrine. This is why the GOP is in SERIOUS trouble as the electorate is becoming educated and are not quick to embrace global statements (talking points and dump buttons) to address our complicated lives (foreign policy, gay rights, health care, energy policy, woman's reproductive rights, immigration, gun policy, role of government etc.). The country is moving on while they squabble among themselves to what the next extreme view to embace and alienate a new group of people. Samantha is a good woman, the point given was more advice not to get sucked into national party stances as they do not work well locally. People are petty and will go out of their way to make things rough if they think you crossed their paths. That is just the nature of politics and i would hate to lose a new public servent to this dynamic.