Supervisors hear about speeding on Old School House Road
By John Chambless
Drivers using Old School House Road as a shortcut through Franklin Township are risking their own safety and endangering people who live along the narrow road, according to John Auerbach, the chairman of the township board of supervisors.
The problem of speeding along Old School House Road was the focus of debate at the supervisors meeting on July 16, which drew 27 people, many of whom addressed the problem and some proposed solutions.
In a July 7 letter sent to residents of Old School House Road and Pheasant Hill Lane, Auerbach outlined his concerns about "a serious traffic safety situation" and asked residents to attend the supervisors meeting.
In the letter, Auerbach wrote, "For years, the surface of Old School House Road was in very poor condition. In 2011 ... the road was resurfaced. Additionally, a four-way stop sign system was installed on Chesterville Road at its intersection with North Creek Road and Route 841. These two events have provided an incentive for drivers to use Old School House Road as a shortcut in lieu of using Route 841."
Auerbach wrote that, "Old School House Road was never intended for high-volume, through-traffic use. It was a path designed by property owners to provide access to their properties. The narrow road width and terrain features make this road unsuitable for through traffic."
After complaints from residents of the road, the township put up more speed limit signs and a stop sign at Pheasant Hill Road, which intersects Old School House Road. But the speeding has continued. The road has several spots where driveways enter the road in areas of poor visibility.
The township has determined that drivers actually save very little time by taking Old School House Road. The average travel time on the road is two minutes and 30 seconds to reach the point where the road meets up again with Route 841, a distance of 1.2 miles. Drivers taking the recommended route, from Wickerton Road to Chesterville Road, travel 1.6 miles in an average of two minutes and 52 seconds.
Auerbach proposed installing four speed humps on Old School House Road to slow traffic, "but the ultimate objective is to create a sufficient inconvenience to through traffic to cause drivers to choose to use Route 841, which is entirely suitable for high-volume through traffic," Auerbach wrote.
Auerbach specified that the devices would be speed humps, which are elevated tables about four inches high that can be moved to any spot on a roadway. They are not speed bumps, which are three to six inches high and force traffic to almost stop in places like parking lots or on residential streets.
Auerbach acknowledged that the speed humps would also inconvenience people who live on Old School House Road. "Unfortunately, the local property owners will pay the price of inconvenience to increase the margin of personal safety," he wrote.
At the supervisors meeting, 13 residents contributed to a discussion of whether to install the speed humps, and where to install them. The residents agreed that the problem of speeding on the road has to be remedied, but differed on the way to do it. After hearing from the residents, the board agreed to investigate other possible options and to work with the township's traffic engineer to place the proposed speed tables.
A copy of Auerbach's letter and maps of the roads are posted on the township's website (www.franklintownship.us).