SALEM - City Councilman Clyde Brown asked if something could be done at the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Southeast Boulevard, where recent accidents have caused some safety concerns.
Brown raised the issue during the report of Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst, who said he's checked with the Ohio Department of Transportation and learned the city would be responsible for the cost of any studies done in the city limits.
According to Brown, statistics provided to him by police Chief Bob Floor showed that since January 2007, there have been 37 accidents on Franklin from South Lincoln Avenue to Southeast Boulevard, with at least 11 or more injuries over that time.
A three-vehicle accident last week sent two motorists to the hospital and another accident earlier this year involved at least four vehicles and resulted in multiple injuries involving at least eight people, including some young children.
"People are concerned," he said, adding some residents signed a petition.
Kenst noted that at least 25 percent of the accidents involved the intersection of Southeast Boulevard and Franklin, which is a two-way stop. Traffic on Southeast Boulevard is required to stop and there's already a sign cautioning motorists on Southeast that "crossing traffic does not stop." He said most injuries also occurred at that intersection.
Councilman Brian Whitehill, who chairs the Traffic & Safety Committee, said he also spoke with the police chief regarding the intersection and saw some of the traffic numbers. It was his understanding that ODOT would be in charge if they were looking at a traffic light.
He suggested the city put up a flashing red light for traffic on Southeast and maybe a caution light on Franklin to warn motorists to be careful in the intersection. He said a lot of the problem is error on the part of the motorists.
In other business, city Law Director Brooke Zellers told council members the city can expect to receive at least $5,000 from the settlement of a municipal class action lawsuit involving the herbicide/pesticide known as atrazine. Zellers read online about the lawsuit, which was filed by another government against the company which produced the chemical because it contaminated the water system.
Zellers asked Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart for some information regarding the level of atrazine in the city's water system and submitted a claim on the city's behalf. He learned recently that the city's claim has been ruled valid.
Zellers said the city water system had a very low concentration of the chemical, so low that he didn't think the city would qualify.
Council held second readings on two ordinances to vacate an unused portion of Butcher Road, from the Pershing Street extension to East State Street and to vacate a portion of land used as access to East State Street Sewage Pumping Station.
Council also approved an ordinance to create the positions of deputy registrar for vital statistics and substitute health nurse, both for the city health department. A ordinance to add invisible fences to the language regarding ways to confine dogs was also passed. Invisible fences had been discussed at length a few years ago during Brown's previous tenure on council, but never made it into the ordinance.
At the request of Mayor John Berlin, council agreed to hold an executive session near the end of the meeting regarding current litigation, with no action taken.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at email@example.com