Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Get real about Secor Road

The public officials who carefully considered all options before endorsing a West Toledo street project that will require razing about a dozen homes did their duty, and good for them. But it’s time to accept the project is necessary and move forward.

Earlier this month, the results of a second analysis showed that a widening project planned for a portion of Secor Road in Toledo and Ottawa Hills is the best option for improving traffic flow and safety. The project comes with the added community benefit of bicycle lanes and sidewalks that should improve walkability in the neighborhood.

To their credit, Ottawa Hills officials commissioned this study at the urging of residents to be sure that taking the homes for a widening project is justified. It is no small thing to displace homeowners. 

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The report confirmed that it was justified. 

Despite this, the village council tabled a vote on the project last week, saying they’d like to reconsider an alternative, three-lane proposal favored by some residents. That alternative would preserve the homes, but not address the central issue, according to engineers who did two safety studies on the matter. 

The plan that engineers say will address the traffic and safety issues is this: creating two lanes running in each direction between Bancroft Street and Markway Road, with two-lane roundabouts at Kenwood Boulevard and the three-way intersection at West Bancroft Street and Indian Road. One version of this plan would include a 10-foot median and a turn lane, while another calls for a 4-foot median.

Opponents of the project want a compromise plan — if not the three-lane alternative, then a smaller version without roundabouts. The trouble with that is every compromise plan that will satisfy these opponents will eliminate elements of the project that make it eligible for the federal funding necessary to do the work. And the work must be done. Leaving Secor Road as it is would be irresponsible.

About 75 percent of the stretch of Secor Road in question is in Toledo and 25 percent is in Ottawa Hills. Councils from both municipalities must approve the plan for it to move forward. Due diligence has been done, and the councils should vote to buy the necessary properties at market value and go ahead with the widening.

This is not a choice any elected official should take lightly, but it’s time to stop analyzing and start fixing Secor Road.

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