Streetsboro -- If a high school is built on Route 14, the character of the road would be completely changed, according to Streetsboro Police Lt. Darin Powers.
"If [a school] were to go on Route 14, then we'll add in turn lanes and traffic lights," he said. "A lot of things will change. I think the appearance of that section will look a lot different if we have a school there."
The safety and traffic congestion challenges that portion of road poses is one of the objections raised by Ed Lupton and Martin Fleming, who have both registered one-man political action committees opposing Issue 22, a $38.7 million bond issue and .5-mill permanent improvement levy. The bond would help fund a new high school on Route 14 somewhere across the road from and between Laurel Lane and Deer Meadows Boulevard. It would also unlock $24 million in state funds and upgrade facilities throughout the district.
"If anybody gets there in the morning when we'd be taking high school kids to school, Route 14 is basically bumper-to-bumper coming out of Ravenna," said Lupton, adding traffic begins to build again in the afternoon around the time students would be leaving the school.
Fleming said the accidents "are way too numerous" in the area of Route 14 where the school would located as it is, with a 40 mph speed limit.
"We'd have traffic jams all they way to Ravenna and all the way to Twinsburg," he predicted.
Mayor Glenn Broska said most of the accidents that occur along Route 14 are caused by failure of motorists to provide assured clear distance, accidents he says can be prevented by adding left-turn lanes and more attentiveness by motorists.
"We did submit letters of interest to AMATS to have turn lanes on Route 14 for some specific areas, and that's in lieu of a complete rebuild of Route 14 that would put a third lane in," said Broska.
In addition to turn lanes, Broska also said there would be at least one traffic light added if a high school is built, which would have the "overall effect of slowing traffic down on Route 14."
A traffic light and 20 mph school zone would slow down traffic some, but, if a school is built, Broska said he'd also seek a speed limit change for the state route, which would have to be approved by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
"With the school there and an increase in residential areas, we'll definitely make a petition to the state to have them … lower the speed limit there," he said.
He said he'd like to see the limit lowered between Diagonal Road and Portage Pointe Drive, where the speed limit now drops to 35 mph.
According to Powers, the Route 14 speed limit is 50 mph from Price Road to Laurel Lane where it drops to 40 mph.
While he said a traffic study would identify potential problems and solutions to those problems, Planning Director John Cieszkowski said some type of warning of an upcoming school zone could be placed at the top of the hill heading west from Diagonal Road.
"To me, that makes sense," he said, adding either the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, which oversees school projects using state money, or ODOT probably has standards for addressing hills like the one at the west end of Sahbra Farms on Route 14.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens