Traffic congestion may end - Ken council to discuss Franklin Ave. project

By Diane Smith Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Now, council's health and safety committee is looking to spend almost $20,000 on a temporary quick fix for the problem.

The committee approved a proposal to temporarily adjust the traffic signal at West Main Street and Spaulding Drive, the site of many traffic backups since Fairchild Avenue was closed.

If the measure gains final approval at council's Nov. 5 meeting, the changes could be implemented within 60 days, said City Engineer Al Brubaker.

Brubaker said all the lights on West Main Street are coordinated so that if motorists travel at a consistent speed, they should face few red lights. But since there are only two eastbound lanes of traffic at West Main and Spaulding Drive, a car waiting to turn left frequently ties up traffic.

Under the plan, a traffic detector would be installed under the pavement at the intersection. A left turn arrow would also be added to the traffic light.

Preliminary estimates indicate design fees could be about $4,000, and an additional $15,000 would be needed to implement the plan. But Brubaker said the project will probably cost much less.

Council members had previously asked about including the light at Fishcreek and S.R. 59 in Stow in the coordinated signals, but Brubaker said because the light is 3,500 feet from the light at Spaulding and Main, that is not practical.

In other business, the committee discussed a proposal that would make it illegal for juveniles to use, buy or attempt to buy tobacco products.

Council members said such a law is long overdue.

Chief James Peach said he is reviewing an ordinance that would also impose penalties on parents whose children are caught smoking and impose stricter penalties for repeat offenders.

He said more discussion is necessary before such a law is approved because it would affect businesses. How the Portage County Juvenile Court would handle the ordinance also needs to be examined, he said.

Health Commissioner John Ferlito said the city should also pass a law making cigarette sales to minors illegal. He said Aurora has a law requiring tobacco vendors to be licensed, giving the city the authority to revoke the license if cigarettes are sold to minors.

"Other things need to be done," he said. "Educational programs need to be put together."

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