P.C. seeks to improve crosswalk safety

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Plain City officials are working to improve the safety of a crosswalk commonly used by children on their way to school.
During Monday’s work session, which was held immediately after the regular council meeting, council members discussed options to alter the crosswalk on W. Main Street in front of the old elementary school building.
Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said staff was considering two options.
First, he said the village could keep the crosswalk at its current location and add new, LED lights in the area and better signage.
The center line on the roadway would also be repainted and extended. Cahall said “a chevron type sign” would be added in between the center lines to widen them out and create a “fake island” to increase visibility.
Cahall said staff is concerned about the safety of the current location because westbound traffic comes around a horizontal curve, leaves a 25 mph zone and picks up speed near on-street parked cars.
He said it is difficult for drivers to see the crosswalk until they are closely approaching walkers.
Although it is in front of the old school building, Cahall noted that it is no longer a school zone. He said any remaining signs that indicate it is will be removed by the end of this year.
The safety of crosswalk is especially concerning because it is used mostly by children, he added.
Cahall said school buses currently drop students off in front of the old elementary school building. While some students walk farther down that side of the street before crossing, he said many young children cross at the current crosswalk, because it is the closest to their drop-off area.
Rather than increasing signs in the area, the village administrator said the location of the crosswalk could be moved toward Mechanic Street.
Council member Shannon Pine said she also uses the current crosswalk while walking through town and said she has to be careful because it’s difficult for drivers to see her ahead of time.
She noted that the proposed new location would be in a 25 mph zone and offer greater visibility.
“I would very much like it to be moved,” Pine said.
If the crosswalk is moved, Council member Frank Reed said he worried children would continue to cross at the current location anyways.
Council member Darren Lee said the village would need to work with school administrators and bus drivers to educate children regarding the new crossing guidelines.
Cahall said afternoon shift police officers generally sit in the bus pick-up and drop-off locations while students are there, so they could help teach children as well.
Council was in favor of shifting the location of the crosswalk.
In other business:
– Council agreed to allow Cahall to release a Request for Proposals in late September or early October for the village’s zoning code rewrite.
He said the RFP would be out for 30 days before staff reviews submissions and selects a contractor. He said the two entities would negotiate a contract that would be ready to execute in 2021.
To ensure the project is included in the 2021 budget, Cahall said he wouldn’t actually sign the contract until January.
Council members said they felt as though Cahall’s plan was an appropriate way to complete groundwork so they are ready to move forward with the project next year, although Reed said he felt Cahall should wait until the 2021 budget is approved.
– Council advised Cahall to apply for Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) loan consideration for the Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion project.
Cahall said village staff initially thought they would use a loan vehicle from the Ohio Water Development authority. However, the consultant group the village is using encouraged staff to apply for an Ohio EPA loan vehicle.
He said the village would be able to borrow at a 0.17% fixed rate over either 20 or 25 years. The village is seeking to borrow $6.7 million for the plant expansion and $300,000 to reimburse the engineering cost, taken from this year’s operating budget.
Although the filing window closes at the end of the month, council members advised Cahall to apply in order to seek a lower interest rate.
– Council elected to cancel the Labor Day fireworks show, which was postponed from the Fourth of July.
“We thought we would all be in a better place come this time of year and we’re actually a little worse off,” Pine said.
Cahall agreed, adding the event would create logistical strains on the village and issues for the police and fire departments, as far as enforcing public health orders from Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health.



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