Akron residents in the Cole Avenue neighborhood have succeeded in persuading the city to keep two sets of traffic signals they say protect children — at least for now.
“We’re going to continue our study,” Service Director John Moore said. “They brought up some interesting comments at those meetings. I think we have to step back and take a good hard look at them, for sure.”
The city is studying the need for all 400 signals in Akron with an initial goal of changing at least 100, either through removal or a conversion to blinking red lights. Traffic Signal Engineer Andy Davis has said the city has about twice as many signals as needed for a city its size.
During the study, traffic signals at Cole and Grant Street and Bellows Avenue and Cole have been changed to flashing red lights.
Five council members wrote to Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic on Monday, asking that the lights stay up.
Ward 5 Councilman Kenneth Jones said the study is expected to last about another month. He is convinced the lights will stay unchanged after that.
“This is the democratic process,” Jones said. “I mean this is how it goes when people are outraged about something that shouldn’t happen. They have the opportunity to address the elected officials and the city officials and say, ‘Hey, this is not right.’ ”
Jones and Ward 7 Councilman Donnie Kammer attended a neighborhood meeting last month that included a traffic guard and several parents complaining that the lights are needed to allow children to safely cross the streets on the way to Glover and McEbright schools.
John Nelson, president of the South Akron Neighborhood Council, called the meeting.
He wasn’t entirely satisfied with the city’s response and wants the lights returned to full function, not just blinking red.
“We would like to see the lights put back on as soon as possible,” he said. “The study is not going to change anything.”
He also raised doubts about the study, saying he sees no speed monitor and no equipment to count the number of cars passing the area.
He renewed his complaint that cars don’t come to full stops at the blinking red lights, making it dangerous for pedestrians.
“The most important thing is to keep our kids safe,” he said.
Dave Scott can be reached at 330-996-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Scott on Twitter at Davescottofakro.