Yes, why didn’t the chicken cross the road? I’d like to see you try to cross Main Street in front of Bluffton High School–perhaps to reach the library across the way–at 3:15 on a school day afternoon. One such day, I counted 200 cars in 15 minutes.
It seems kind of ridiculous that you can’t get from one side of town to the other in our seemingly sleepy village. Several years ago, we had a traffic light at College and Main, but state planning rules resulted in a traffic count that determined we don’t have enough cars–less than 500 per day–going through that intersection to warrant a signal.
And without a signal, cars just don’t stop. Drivers routinely ignore pedestrians, seemingly ignorant of the Ohio law requiring them to share the road and yield to pedestrians using the crosswalk.
I’ve tried to cross the road with head-shaking results. Waving my arms at drivers has gotten absolutely no reaction. I’m starting to think that I need to dress up in a big chicken suit and see if that would work. But, darn, those costumes are hot.
So, I’m talking to anyone and everyone about this situation. I’ve visited with the Bluffton Exempted Village Schools board, dropped in on the streets and alley committee of the Bluffton town council, chatted with Matt Rosebrock from the Ohio Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering department for our district, and explained our needs to Bob Cupp, our representative in the Ohio State Legislature.
And I’ve looked for solutions in other towns in Ohio, including better signage and pedestrian-activated red lights. You can see some of my homework in this letter, which I shared with the Bluffton Icon.
These officials have all shown concern about the conditions at this intersection, as have many parents and pedestrians I’ve talked to. “Are you going to do something about this!?”–I’ve been asked this repeatedly.
What I’m still not clear about is how it will get done and how long it will take. Does a new traffic study have to be completed? That can’t happen until school is back in session. Where will the money come from? There is a Safe Routes to School program designed to remedy such problems, but I can only imagine how long it takes to access such funds.
And who needs to take on this project? Is it the village’s ultimate responsibility? Will I continue to play hot potato, bouncing from one public agency to the other? I’ll let you know.
If you’d like to put your support behind this project, please express your concern to the schools, the village, and the state. Write an email, make a phone call, post on Facebook (The links above can help you get started).
The children trying to cross Main St. need you to get involved.