CALCUTTA-Two things came out of Tuesday's St. Clair Township meeting - far too many traffic accidents are happening along state Route 170 near Dunham's Plaza, and township leaders want to see those numbers erased.
St. Clair Township Police Chief Donald Hyatt first presented his findings to trustees Tuesday in which he searched through his department's accident reports, attempting to tabulate the number of traffic accidents that have taken place at the northeastern exit/entrance to Dunham's Plaza on state Routes 170.
According to Hyatt, from the end of 2007 to August 2011 there were 42 accidents due to motorists attempting to turn left from the exit onto state Route 170. The chief noted this preliminary number is probably a low estimate due to the fact he used the department's digital traffic accident database to count the accidents and some reports from that location do not show up when searched.
Hyatt also said some reports are not detailed enough to determine the exact location on 170, stating only that an accident occurred at the Dunham's exit. However the chief said it's more than likely it occurred at the troublesome exit.
Hyatt said he has yet to tabulate the reports from August 2011 to present, which includes an accident earlier this week.
"We're not done yet but that's a lot of crashes, even in that window of time," said Hyatt.
St. Clair Township Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to declare March 23 Organ Donation Awareness Day throughout the township.
Greg Beatty of Wellsville, a member of Team Chelsea, a coalition of friends, family and community members working to preserve the memory and mission of the late Chelsea Lingenfelter, spoke to trustees about the group's effort.
"In Chelsea's case, the fight went on too long, she had to wait so long for an organ donor that she died on the operating table," said Beatty. "We want to pay it forward to the next person who may need a transplant."
Lingenfelter, 21, passed away Feb. 18 while preparing for liver transplant surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.
Trustees are working on plans to host an event at the Peter Metrovich Community at which citizens may sign up to become organ donors. The time and other details for the event have yet to be established, but will be announced in coming days.
"The whole point of the event will be to get the paperwork to become an organ donor in people's hands." said Swickard.
- By DEVIN BEZEREDI
Trustee Robert Swickard pointed out the area in question usually averages more than one accident a month.
"That's 45-46 months and we know there's more that one a month," said Swickard, responding to Hyatt's report.
Trustee James Sabatini II reported contacting the owners of the plaza, who he identified as "the Scotts," saying he invited them to a meeting at which trustees and Hyatt would meet with ODOT to discuss the fate of the accident-plagued entrance/exit.
"His concern is of course the economic well-being of the plaza, but beyond that, the safety is his main concern," said Sabatini II. "I think the best thing for us to do is to get everybody into the same room and discuss what we can do."
In tossing out ideas about improving safety in that area, Hyatt proposed making the exit/entrance a "right in, right out" which he believes would make it much safer while not hurting the prosperity of plaza businesses.
Sabatini suggested a red light in the location might reduce the number of accidents, but Swickard disagreed saying, "It's a little too close to the other intersection. The stack up would back up to McDonald's in seconds."
Road Foreman Scott Barrett suggested an island in the center of the roadway would stop motorist from attempting the risky left turn.
Trustees are expected to arrange a meeting next week, once Hyatt has finished tabulating the number of accidents.
"Doing nothing isn't working, going to the extreme will make people unhappy, but I think somewhere in the middle there is a solution." said Swickard.