Franklin survey to address aggressive driving

Staff writer

Continued discussions of aggressive driving in certain neighborhoods pushed Franklin City Council on Monday night to approve a survey to be sent to affected residents in the hopes of putting a kibosh on the issue.

Resident Robert Cerro returned to council to see what was being done in the 1300 block of Otter Street where he lives. He stated at previous meetings that speeding drivers in his area are a danger to children.

The issue has been recurrent since last year, when council voted to make Franklin Avenue from 13th to 14th streets a one-way street in July.

City Manager Tracy Jamieson said Monday night she recommended both a decrease in the speed limit and a stop sign at the intersection of Elk and 14th streets, to which City Solicitor Brian Spaid agreed.

“I believe the more impediments that are put in, the less people will try to take shortcuts through town,” said Spaid, referencing drivers who avoid the traffic lights on Liberty Street in the belief they will travel through town more quickly.

Mayor Doug Baker said he would like to see a policy in place that would uniformly address speeding issues throughout the city.

He said other communities have lowered speed limits from 25 to 15 mph to deter dangerous drivers.

“I want to explore these things because it’s important to me that people are comfortable in their neighborhoods,” Baker said.

He requested a motion for a survey to be created by city staff and sent to affected residents to see what change they would like to see implemented, be it a stop sign, lower speed limit or speed bumps.

Resident Bev Hart also returned to readdress the issue of dangerous drivers at the intersection of Liberty Street and Allegheny Boulevard.

At the April council meeting, Hart said she often uses the crosswalk there, and the traffic lights turn green at the midway point as she is crossing the street.

Hart said Monday it wasn’t an issue of short crosswalk times, but one of aggressive drivers.

Jamieson said the issue lies with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which maintains the roadway there, and it could potentially be addressed during a PennDOT construction project taking place in Sugarcreek Borough to create a sidewalk along Allegheny Boulevard.

Resident Priscilla Earhart suggested a three-way stop at the intersection of Buffalo and 12th streets as a safety precaution.

Earhart also suggested council look at the parking meter costs in the city, citing 25 cents for 30 minutes as too high.

As a local business owner herself, Earhart said the meter prices can be a deterrent to out-of-town shoppers.

Contract awards

– Council awarded a bid to Bert Klapec Inc., of Oil City, for demolition work at properties located at 744 15th St., 1407 Eagle St. and 327 Pacific St. in the total amount of $37,250, to be covered by Community Development Block Grant funds.

– Council awarded a $150,769 bid to IA Construction Corp., of Franklin, for the city’s 2018 CDBG paving project.

Work includes improvements to the 200 block of Orchard Street, Missouri Street from Grant to Pacific streets, the 400 block of Pacific Street, Spring Street from Seneca Street to its end, Pearl Street from 12th Street to its end, Washington Street from Meadville Pike to Polk, Franklin Avenue from 13th to 14th streets, and Otter Street from West Park to 13th streets.

– Council awarded another bid to IA Construction Corp. in the amount of $101,329 for Liquid Fuels paving projects.

Work will include Buffalo Street from Ninth to 10th streets, Elk Street from Washington Crossing to 10th Street, Elm Street from 11th to 12th streets, Buffalo Street from 11th to 12th streets, and possibly 16th Street, from Liberty Street to a point located 465 feet southward.

– Council approved an agreement with Struxures LLC, of Seneca, for architectural/engineering services for the CDBG-funded accessibility improvement project at City Hall at a cost of $4,900.

The $46,893 project includes the replacement of two sets of double doors, leading from the lobby to the hallway and from the hallway to the finance department; the replacement of the drinking fountain with an ADA-compliant bilevel electric model; and renovations to the men’s and women’s restrooms to make them handicapped-accessible.

Other business

– The city was awarded a $966,760 state transportation grant to replace decorative streetlights, concrete pavers and trees in the 1200 block of Liberty Street.

Council approved a request to seek quotes for engineering services to begin the replacement project.

– Council approved two resolutions to allow Crawford Area Transportation Authority to submit a grant on the city’s behalf for up to $229,512 for a bus shelter replacement project in the 1200 block of Buffalo Street.

Depending on the amount of grant money received, several options exist for replacing the bus shelter gazebo and creating a pedestrian walkway leading from the shelter to the 1200 block of Liberty Street.

The grant application is due next month.

– Council approved the creation of an ordinance to designate a handicapped parking spot on 12th Street next to St. John’s Episcopal Church, closest to the church’s elevator.

Council will next meet at 7 p.m. Monday, July 2, in council chambers at City Hall.