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Lane Avenue speed limit might drop to 25

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

Drivers might need to hit the brakes on Lane Avenue between Summit and High streets in the coming months.
After a unanimous decision during a Monday Columbus City Council meeting, an appeal to reduce the speed limit on Lane Avenue will be directed to the Ohio Department of Transportation. The appeal suggests a speed limit reduction from 35 mph to 25 mph between those Summit and High streets in the Ohio State off-campus area.
The appeal was spurred by Undergraduate Student Government whose members attended a Pedestrian and Transportation Commission meeting in 2011. They had expressed their concerns about the safety in the University District, said John Ivanic, communications director for Columbus City Council.
Transportation Services within the Department of Public Service addressed these concerns and reviewed the crash data on Lane Avenue between Summit and High streets from 2009-2011.
According to March 13 meeting minutes, the Columbus Transportation and Pedestrian Commission decided to pursue a speed limit reduction in that area.
“We’re always interested in partnering with OSU students to make the roads safer,” said Columbus City Council member and Public Service and Transportation Committee Chair Eileen Paley.
Results of the study showed the average car speed on this stretch was 29 mph.
“So we’re only talking a reduction of 4 mph,” Ivanic said. “With the road so narrow, the speed limit doesn’t need to be 35 mph.”
When city council is expected receive a response to the appeal is unknown, and requests for comment from the Ohio Department of Transportation were not immediately returned Tuesday.
The study commenced once the students’ idea was approved by the Columbus Transportation and Pedestrian Commission on March 15. It concluded that “25 miles per hour is reasonable and safe under existing conditions,” according a Tuesday email from Ivanic.
The details of the study and the study itself have not been released.
“A reduced speed limit will help calm traffic and make the area safe for pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists,” Ivanic said.
OSU students show mixed emotions about the potential change.
“It will just back up traffic, put people on edge and potentially increase accidents,” said Ashley Hard, a third-year in psychology.
Alvian Williams, a third-year in exploration, said he thinks the change could have a positive affect.
“People are going slower so they have to be more aware of their surroundings,” Williams said.
Students should be kept informed about any speed limit changes with multiple emails and street signs so they aren’t caught off guard, Williams said.
“Hopefully they don’t give out a lot of tickets (at first),” said Ashley Bell, a third-year in human development and family science. “When all of the accidents occurred, they didn’t (initially) announce the jaywalking tickets.”
Lindsay Komlanc, spokeswoman for OSU Administration and Planning, stated in an email that if the speed limit does change, the Ohio State Police Department might put information on its website and the Department of Transportation and Traffic Management might communicate it through their website or Twitter account.
“(But) we are talking about a proposed change,” Komlanc stated in the email. “We would need final information and details from the city before determining how best to communicate it to our community.”

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