Clinton resident Michael L. Stranathan was caught in a traffic jam recently on Interstate 77 North that extended from the Belden Village area all the way to Akron. It took him more than an hour to reach his downtown office.

While he was crawling along, he tuned in the Ohio Department of Transportation's local radio broadcast on 1610 AM to see how long he would have to wait.

“Listening to the broadcast, I was given varying lengths of time that ranged from 25 minutes to 35 minutes — my wait was well over an hour — and told to go to the website OHGO.com for updates," he says.

“Seems like ODOT is confused as to what they want you to do. Per the message boards and new Burma Shave-style signs that appeared in May, we're not supposed to use our phones to text. Going to the website to look up traffic updates is equally as hazardous when you're driving, even if you're moving at a snail's pace.

“Almost certainly the radio broadcast and instructions to go to the website are intended for people who are driving because the broadcast is a low-power transmission from a Marti-style transmitter.”

Yep, seems like a classic case of mixed messages.

But Justin Chesnic, spokesman for ODOT's District 4, doesn't seem to think so.

He says the OHGO app “is first and foremost best used before you hit the road. Even still, the app has a hands-free voice mode that is intended to provide relevant information without the user taking their eyes off the road.”

Chesnic says the app also can be set up to send personalized alerts that don't require drivers to manually check the website. He further notes that the electronic roadside signs also provide travel time and closure information.

OK, but the problem is that the time estimates often aren't even close.

The message boards are controlled at ODOT headquarters in Columbus by people monitoring speeds from various sources. They clearly need more practice.

Somewhere down the road, Chesnic says, ODOT will release an OHGO interface that will send data to all systems that provide traffic information, including navigation apps (such as Google Maps and Waze), in-car navigation systems (Tom-Tom, Sirius) and, eventually, to "connected vehicles." The last reference is to a technology that will enable our personal vehicles to "talk" with other vehicles, as well as with trains, buses, commercial trucks and even infrastructure, enabling everyone to know what's going on everywhere on and near their highway.

Safe to say that will not happen next week.

 

CSI: Doylestown

 

This from the Doylestown PD's Facebook page, pointed out by eagle-eyed reader Michele Bishop:

"Officers responded to an East Marion Street residence for a domestic dispute. According to the caller, an intoxicated male was upset that the family had hidden a bottle of liquor from him. The male proceeded to take labels off of canned food goods in the residence. Officers mediated the situation for the evening."

Does that qualify as identity theft?

 

On the hunt

 

Avid reader Cheryl Gerbracht uncovered this gem in the Hudson Hub Times:

“Police said they responded to the area of Barlow and Terex roads after a man reported his hand had gotten caught in his beaver trap. … Police said they freed the man and he declined to be seen by EMS.”

Probably too embarrassed.

 

Ugly scenery

 

Basil Galati figured I'd get a kick out of an item in his local newspaper. He sent the following, along with the comment, “and please, no more wisecracks about us folks here in Medina.”

It was a Montville Township police report.

“An officer spoke with a male working near Tower Road and advised him 'against allowing his entire posterior to become exposed while working within close proximity to Tower Road,' according to the report.”

And the guy wasn't even a plumber.


 

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31