Gilman speeders on city’s radar

Gilman speeders on city’s radar

By Sam Shawver,

Vehicles traveling Gilman Avenue in excess of 60 mph in a 35 mph zone have prompted City Council members to seriously consider lowering the speed limit on Gilman between the Putnam and Washington Street bridges.

“It’s really a pedestrian issue in that area. Kids are crossing the street there, and unless we can get drivers to slow down, we’re going to have a real problem,” said Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward.

The speeding issue was one of three major items considered by Marietta council’s streets and transportation committee on Tuesday.

The committee was also encouraged to develop a right-of- way ordinance, and members were briefed on a proposed senior housing complex to be built on Colegate Drive.

Marietta police monitored traffic in the 700 block of Gilman Avenue on Saturday, and reported that between 3 and 4 p.m. a total of 106 vehicles passed through the area, and 20 were speeding.

One of those vehicles was traveling 68 mph in the 35 mph zone.

On Sunday in the same block a vehicle was clocked at 61 mph between 2 and 3 p.m.

“There’s a lot of activity in that location with the (Marietta College and Marietta High) rowing crews, and there will be more utilization of the park there,” said Dave Sands, Marietta safety-service director.

Paul Bertram III, City Council president, said he had witnessed one child cross Gilman Avenue who came within inches of being killed by a car that was traveling over the speed limit.

Bertram brought the request for the committee to lower the speed limit on Gilman from 35 mph to 25 mph.

Sands met with the city engineer and police department, and said both support a lowered speed limit.

“I’m also asking the traffic commission to consider the proposal this week,” he said.

“I don’t think we have any objections to this. It’s definitely a public safety concern,” said streets and transportation committee chair Kathy Shively, D-at large.

She said once the proposal is reviewed by the traffic commission, it would go to City Law Director Roland Riggs III for possible development of legislation for council approval.

In other business, David G. Haney, manager of City Telecommunications Consultants Ltd. in Columbus, urged council to develop and enact a right-of-way ordinance to govern access by utility companies.

“Local authority is under siege, and the only way you can keep control over some of these issues is through a right of way ordinance,” he said.

“You have the right to do this, We’re saying that this is a valuable asset you manage as a trust for taxpayers,” Haney said. “And a right of way ordinance allows you to set up corridors where companies have to locate any utilities.”

Haney noted that in the city of Dublin the right-of-way ordinance requires that all utilities have to be located inside underground conduits.

He added that Zanesville has also recently enacted a right-of- way ordinance, and recommended that Marietta consider what other communities have done in order to develop a local ordinance.

“You want to know who’s in the right of way, and you have to determine the costs of maintaining it,” Haney said.

“What was the financial impact in Zanesville?” asked Joe Tucker, Marietta city engineer.

“I think they’re collecting about $35,000 a year in fees,” Haney said.

Tucker said he had talked with Riggs about developing the ordinance for Marietta.

“He wants to work on it with the idea of doing it all at one time and getting it right the first time,” he said. “It’s a complex issue to put together.”

Tucker noted that a right-of- way ordinance developed by the city of Arlington is 58 pages long.

He said the American Public Works Association provides a template document that can be used to develop an ordinance.

“The sooner we can do this, the better off we’ll be,” added Councilman Sam Gwinn, D-1st Ward.

The committee also heard a presentation on a proposed $5 million three-story, 40-unit senior housing complex to be built next to the Colegate Food Center on Colegate Drive.

Glenn Shultz with Westerville-based Woda Development of Ohio, LLC, said years ago the property was originally platted to be a subdivision, and the city planned to build streets into the area, but they were not completed.

“We’re requesting that the city vacate the streets planned for the subdivision. We can then go to the county and get the old subdivision plat dissolved,” Shultz said.

“You’re asking us to give up a substantial amount of land. What does the city get in return?” Vukovic asked.

“You’ll be getting more senior housing for the community,” Shultz answered. “And it is not subsidized housing. This is a for-profit business.”

He said because the property is being developed under a state tax credit program, Woda Development must not only develop, design and build the project, it will also have to manage the complex for at least 15 years.

Shively said she would ask for legislation vacating the planned subdivision streets to be ready for introduction during council’s next meeting on March 15.

Shultz estimates the project will be completed around June of 2008.