Gina Mace

CUYAHOGA FALLS: A Cuyahoga Falls councilwoman lost the first round Monday to keep a traffic light at Second Street and Chestnut Boulevard.


The city`s Traffic Control Committee voted 5-1 to recommend replacing the light with a two-way stop.


The stop light at Sackett Avenue and Second Street would remain.


But Ward 2 Councilwoman Mary Ellen Pyke will have one more chance to make her case.


The recommendation will be forwarded to Falls council, which will make the final determination.


John Konich, the city’s information technology services director, said the Sackett Avenue light is old and needs to be updated.


Light would be moved


Instead of spending $12,000 to replace the light’s controller, plans are to move the Chestnut traffic light to Sackett.


Konich said a traffic study showed that, even though the sight lines at the Chestnut intersection are inferior, if vehicles inch forward enough, oncoming traffic from Second Street will be able to spot them waiting at the intersection.


Pyke, who grew up in the area, fears the intersection will go the way of Falls Avenue at Second Street, which has had nine accidents in the past two years.


And with an aging population, two churches and a school in the area, Pyke said, she wants to make sure her constituents are safe.


The Rev. Kirk Bruce, pastor of Pilgrim United Church of Christ, said he travels through the intersections six or seven times a day.


“I catch a light five of six times in the morning,” he said. “I find that I’m stopping and nobody is coming.”


Councilman Don Walters, who serves on the committee, said Bruce is making frequent stops because the lights do not cycle properly.


“If it is working correctly, the light stays green on Second Street until a car approaches on the side street,” Walters said. “Put something there that will cycle the light properly.”


The long-term planning department goal is to turn the area into a sustainable, walkable neighborhood, Pyke said.


“When that happens, we will need that light,” she said.


She suggested as a compromise to keep the Chestnut Boulevard light, but make it continually flashing – yellow on Second Street and red facing Chestnut.


“Then if it is needed in the future, it can be programmed as a stop light,” Pyke said. “If it comes down, we’ll never get it back.”