Cuyahoga Falls -- A proposal to reduce a section of Front Street from a four-lane road to a three-lane road and add on-street parking near Gorge Metro Park is on hold while city officials solicit public feedback and the city's traffic committee reviews the project again.
Council member and public affairs committee chair Vic Pallotta (R-3) on June 26 said Falls Police Chief Jack Davis had implemented a speed study in connection with the proposed project. The speed of vehicles traveling on Front Street near Gorge Metro Park was monitored this past week and was expected to continue through the beginning of the week of July 2, according to Pallotta.
Pallotta said he spoke with City Engineer Tony Demasi, as well as City Council President Mary Ellen Pyke (R-2) "about getting feedback from your ward constituents," and with Lisa King, executive director of Summit Metro Parks.
Pallotta said information will be presented to a special traffic committee meeting and noted he planned to bring a proposal to Council's public affairs committee on July 24 with the hope of having Council vote on the measure July 31.
Pallotta added King told him she was "fine" with the city's upcoming plans for the remainder of the month.
The traffic committee will review the issue again in a special meeting on July 17 at 4:30 p.m. in the Erie Room at the Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St. Pallotta said residents who have questions or concerns about the project are encouraged to attend. The committee will examine the speed study performed by Davis, and discuss other issues with King, Demasi and Cuyahoga Falls Street Commissioner Charles Novak, Pallotta told the Falls News-Press on June 28.
An effort will be made by the committee to cover "every facet" of the situation, said Pallotta.
The aspects of the situation that will be examined include possibly lowering the speed limit and discussing visibility issues for cars turning onto Front Street from Hillcrest Drive. Pallotta added that he's received calls from residents wondering if there are other options to accommodate the Metro Parks' need for additional parking.
Summit Metro Parks is planning a project to change Front Street from a four-lane to a three-lane road with parallel parking from Hillcrest Drive to the southern corporation limits and to construct a walkway, according to the legislation.
During discussion at the public affairs committee meeting June 19, Demasi said motorists traveling south in the right lane on Front Street toward Gorge Metro Park would have to make a right turn once they get to Hillcrest Drive.
King told Council that the project to put in 57 parallel parking spots along the road is designed to "relieve the pressure on the park. During good days, we've experienced parallel parking within our parking lot, double parked, people getting blocked in."
Pyke noted she favored delaying a vote on the project "until ... we can get public feedback." While that happens, Pyke said city officials could also "revisit" the Gorge Terrace Plan.
Pyke, along with Council members Mike Brillhart (D-5) and Russ Iona (R-8), raised the idea of lowering the speed limit along that section of Front Street. Pyke said she would like the speed limit reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph due to bicyclists traveling down the road. She added she wanted Metro Parks to find more parking on park property rather than along the street.
City Council OKs changes to speed limits
City Council on June 26 unanimously approved two changes to the city's traffic control file. The amendments -- changing the speed limit on Sand Run Road from 45 mph to 35 mph, and setting the speed limit on Ira Road at 35 mph -- were, on June 19, unanimously brought out of the public affairs committee for a Council vote.
Half of Sand Run Road is in Bath and the other half is in Cuyahoga Falls, according to Davis. He noted that Bath's section has a 35 mph speed limit, so it makes sense for the Falls section to have the same speed limit.
Both Davis and Demasi noted on June 19 that no speed limit was posted along Ira Road. Setting it at 35 mph would bring it "in line" with similar roads and into compliance with state law, said Davis to the Falls News-Press.