May 3, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Stop signs raise red flags

Maria Kacik | The Gazette

BRUNSWICK — Drivers through some of the city’s subdivisions soon may be able to lay off their brakes a bit.

The city is considering eliminating several stop signs along Skyview Drive, as well as several others scattered throughout the city’s residential neighborhoods.

City Manager Bob Zienkowski said no official decisions have been made yet, but the city is looking to hear residents’ opinions on potentially eliminating some signs.

“This is a conversation that is really just beginning,” he said.

Drivers on Skyview Drive in Brunswick have to stop here at Woodhollow Drive and just a block away at Pinnacle Drive. City officials are deciding whether the stop signs on the street are warranted. (Maria Kacik| Gazette)

Ward 2 Councilman Vincent Carl, who chairs Council’s Safety and Environment Committee, said between 10 and 15 residents have complained about Skyview Drive — which goes between Pearl and Grafton roads. In addition, Zienkowski said a local law firm has threatened a lawsuit against the city, citing the road’s several stop signs as illegal.

The road — which is just less than a mile long — has four-way stop signs at Woodhollow, Pinnacle, Surrey and Vineyard drives.

“If you drive in that area, it’s like every other street you have to stop,” Carl said.

So the city looked to the Police Department to do a study on the road to see if all the stop signs are warranted.

Sgt. Kevin Scullin consulted the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which states stop signs should not be used for speed control and should be installed to minimize the number of vehicles having to stop.

In a memo to his department, Scullin said the stop signs on Skyview are not in compliance with ODOT’s recommendations, as they do not minimize the number of vehicles that have to stop.

“These signs have been there for many years and it is quite possible they were put there for speed control, or under an older, outdated version of the” manual, he wrote.

Carl said if a driver is given a ticket for not stopping at an unwarranted stop sign, he or she can claim in court the stop sign is not legal and the ticket will then be null.

Scullin also noted that since 2000 there have been two crashes on Skyview — one caused by a driver who lost control while trying to stop at a stop sign and another when a driver ran a stop sign.

“Both would not have happened if there was not a stop sign on the Skyview portion of the intersection,” Scullin wrote.

Scullin recommended to Council that the signs be taken down.

Carl said Council will examine the situation and may make the same recommendation to Zienkowski — who, as the city’s safety director, will have the ultimate say in the removal of the signs.

Zienkowski said he would want to meet with Skyview residents before taking any action. But if he makes the decision to remove the signs, the city will post 30-day notices that the signs will be taken down.

The city also will look at other stop signs throughout the city. Zienkowski said Brunswick is looking for residents’ input on stop signs they would like to see removed or kept in place.

Scullin said he will do studies — similar to the one done on Skyview — on stop signs at Bettie Lane at Junior Parkway, Judita Drive at Blossom Court and Francis Boulevard at Charlotte Drive.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or