October 23, 2014

Mostly sunny

ODOT returns speed limit to 45 mph on Route 83 in North Ridgeville

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Drivers may be doing double-takes along a stretch of state Route 83 after speed limit signs went up last week, returning the speed limit to 45 mph from 35 mph.

The move comes after the speed was lowered from 45 to 35 mph on a portion of the heavily-traveled road north of Center Ridge Road to Mills Road due to what city officials said were a significant number of accidents, including a fatal crash.

One confused driver who called The Chronicle-Telegram asked about the road’s “musical speed limit.”

“It was 45 (mph) for years and they changed it to 35, and now it’s back up to 45,” the man said in a message.

North Ridgeville Safety-Service Director Jeffry Armbruster confirmed the boosting of speed limits between Mildred Street and Mills Road, which forms the border between North Ridgeville and Avon.

Between the beginning of 2012 and last autumn, 49 collisions were recorded on that portion of Route 83. One of those accidents, which occurred in August, claimed the life of Brian Rummel, 49, who died after his Kia sport-utility vehicle went off the road and overturned after crashing into two trees.

“We looked at the situation and felt that we should err on the side of safety here,” Armbruster said in October.

But now it appears the move to lower the speed limit was not warranted, according to results of a traffic study conducted by the city and Ohio Department of Transportation.

“The state notified us we needed to do a warrant study for the speed zone” after the city posted the lowered speed limit signs, Armbruster said.

The study weighed factors such as density of homes and distance between driveways in the portion of Route 83 with the lowered speed limit, as well as traffic volume and number of accidents, said Christine Myers, spokeswoman for ODOT District 3 in Ashland, which encompasses Lorain County.

“The state came back after they did an analysis and said 35 mph was not warranted for that area,” Armbruster said.

Police have not issued speeding tickets for drivers exceeding the 35 mph speed limit.

“We were not enforcing 35 mph until it became official (from the state),” Armbruster said.

Performed between Oct. 28 and 30, the ODOT study concluded that even with 10 collisions that resulted in injury between January 2012 and October 2013 factored in, a 45-mph speed limit was warranted, according to information sent to city officials by ODOT District 3 traffic engineer Julie A. Cichello.

The city was notified of ODOT’s findings in December, Armbruster said.

The raised speed limit was never formalized by ODOT, said Myers, who explained that changes in locally set speed limits for state routes must be submitted to and documented by the state.

State transportation officials received numerous calls from locals asking why ODOT had lowered the speed limit, Myers said.

The speed limit on Route 83 south of Center Ridge Road has remained 45 mph.

“The only reason we did it (lower speeds) was for safety reasons,” Armbruster said. “We were doing what’s right, but we were called on the carpet for it.”

The city wants to make another push at some point to lower the speed to 35 north of Center Ridge, said Armbruster, due to the fact drivers regularly go 60 to 70 mph in the area.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    there went the money grab, and I know they ticketed a lot of people on this………………do they get their money back???

    • NR2004

      article states the city gave out no tickets. but if that’s a lie, like a couple of the other lies in the article, then I would fight it.

  • reallyoldfarts

    Yay! I’m so looking forward to passing those old farts driving 30 on RT83 again!

  • SweetScarlet

    The speed limit on Route 83 south of Center Ridge Road has remained 45 mph.

    “The only reason we did it (lower speeds) was for safety reasons,” Armbruster said. “We were doing what’s right, but we were called on the carpet for it.”

    Seriously? Ridgeville, get your act together here. This is ridiculous. Stop wasting money and time on changes that don’t matter. How about you focus on flooding issues? We just passed a humongous levy for the schools. A little money management seems to be needed here.

  • DukeGanote

    Local officials use “35″ as their magic number when they simply can’t stretch the law enough to rationalize 25-mph signs. Where did 35-mph come from? As it happens local officials dream of turning back the clock to 1926 when Ohio’s speed limits were:
    – 15-mph in a business district
    – 25-mph elsewhere in a municipality
    – 35-mph outside a municipality (“rural roads”)!


  • NR2004

    “The city wants to make another push at some point to lower the speed to 35 north of Center Ridge, said Armbruster, due to the fact drivers regularly go 60 to 70 mph in the area.”

    This is a complete LIE. You’ll be lucky to do the posted 45, let alone go 60. Is there an occasional speeder? Sure. But do drivers “regularly” go that fast? No.

    • DukeGanote

      Armbruster has the official traffic study North Ridgeville sent to ODOT. Without having seen it (I just requested a copy), I’ll speculate that the average speed is less than 45 mph, and only 1 of 100 motorists hits 60 to 70 mph. Those same 1%-ers won’t care if the signs say 25-mph. If it’s a bad as Armbruster suggests, then NR police should be easily issuing tickets along there, and he should be able to provide those numbers too.

      For the residents living along there, the only motorists that “stick” in your memory are the flagrant violators.

      • NR2004

        Before the Lear exit opened at 90 I drove 83 to 90 every morning to work (630am) and on the way home (430pm). Did that for 6 years. Never experienced a driver doing anything faster than maybe 50. It’s just basically impossible to do without breaking other laws.

        • DukeGanote

          Scott Wangler, North Ridgeville City Engineer, emailed me the ODOT “Warrant for Speed Zone” (the official document for speed zone determination). With a 35-mph signs posted, most motorists were traveling between 36-mph and 45-mph. With a 35-mph limit, more than 10% of motorists could be cited for an easy “10 over”. With a 45-mph limit, you’d barely get 2% of motorists for “5 over”, so the City would sincerely have to be interested in safety to patrol much.

          • NR2004

            Thanks for the info. Are these stats for this particular stretch of roadway or for 35 and 45 MPH roads in general in the state? With these stats, outside of “safety” concerns, seems to me like it would be a cash grab since more people are likely to be speeding when the speed limit is 35 MPH.

            Every day I’m on the stretch of Lear between Detroit and Schwartz. It’s 25 thru there. 35 and 40 is definitely common. I’m always afraid there will be a cop sitting at that school so I just become the parade maker. Probably doing everyone else a favor.

            I just think its safer in these small towns to drive the posted limit. NR has always been known to be tough on speeders. I’m not going to give the the benefit of ticketing me.

          • DukeGanote

            For the 45-mph zone determined by ODOT from SLM (straight-line milepost) 14.07 (North of US 20, Center Ridge) to SLM 15.22 (Mills Road).

            The notes say “All of the speeds shown were obtained with 35 mph signs in place.

            “Two locations were set up to gather speed data, at slm 14.32 NB we counted 11,914 vehicles. For SB traffic at slm 14.32 we counted 11,138 vehicles.

            “At slm 14.88 NB we counted 11.602 vehicles. At slm 14.88 SB we counted 10,839 vehicles. All counts were obtained from 10/28/13 to 10/30/13.

            “The 85% speed was 45 mph on 3 of the 4 counts, the slm 14.88 NB count was 44.3 mph. Calculated speed is 46 mph for this section. The speed limit is 45 mph.”

            Doesn’t sound much support for the article’s concluding assertion that speeds are regularly 60-70 MPH, eh?

  • steelcity74

    I live on that stretch of road and see the cars, trucks and motorcycles blow by our home much faster than 40-50. My children and the children of others play in those yards; I don’t want to see the day when someone veers off the road and strikes someone. I will continue to go 35.

    • NR2004

      Is there a difference if a child is hit at 35 or 45? Lord forbid anyone get hurt, but accidents are accidents. Would you change the speed limit to 35 south of town where it’s 55 because people have yards where someone could get hit? And now because you’re going to go 35, more people will pass you only making it more dangerous. Thank you for making us safer.

      • steelcity74

        I don’t have any research to back up a statement that would suggest increased injuries from being hit by a car going 45 or a car going 35. I do know that the vehicle is easier to control and has a shorter stopping distance when it’s traveling 10 mph less. The maximum speed limit is 45, if I’m going 35 and someone wants to pass, that’s the risk they take. BTW I’ve been passed before and I usually pull up behind them at the light at mills or at center ridge. Was that extra car length really worth it?

        • NR2004

          I would agree with you about the ability to slow down. But the comment from this article is that people regularly drive 60 and 70 down this road. If that’s the case, then what does it matter if the speed limit is 35 or 45? The biggest issue I see with 83 between Center Ridge and Detroit is the inconsistency is speed limits. The inconsistency in allotted passing zones. All this leading to tailgaters, passers, and people driving 35 in a 45. With all the traffic on 83 due to the increased population of this area, I’m a little surprised there is not talk of making it four lanes. They can’t put in a much needed turn lanes at Mills so I’m sure that’s not on the docket. I can’t even count how many people I’ve almost hit turning east onto Mills only to be nearly hit by someone illegally passing the person in front of them who is also making a left. Off topic. Sorry. End of the day, accidents are going to happen no matter the speed limit. I only ask that people drive the posted speed limit. I’d hope this would reduce the number of accidents.

          • Otter

            Until people learn how to drive, the speed limit is kind of irrelevant.

    • DukeGanote

      If it’s a bad as you and Mr Armbruster suggest, then those speeds should be documented in the traffic study that NR submitted to ODOT. Furthermore, NR police should be easily issuing tickets along there, and Mr Armbruster should be able to provide the numbers of tickets written.

    • DukeGanote

      Mr Armbuster’s assertion that “drivers regularly go 60 to 70 mph” seems incredible. With a 35-mph signs posted, most motorists were traveling between 36-mph and 45-mph (according to ODOT’s speed warrant document). Surely the writer, Mr Fogarty, misheard Mr Armbuster.

  • NR2004

    In the case of Rummel, did the speed kill him? Maybe he’d have been less injured from the crash that was a result of something else. The elderly man a couple months ago that slammed into that car going 90 MPH. Again, medical issue. It just sounds like Armbruster is just reaching.

    • YesYou2

      So no one was issued a ticket?

  • YesYou2

    If I understand the quote from the Safety Service Director correctly he said that the city did not issue tickets for speed in excess of 35mph? Is this correct?

    • DukeGanote

      Yes, looks like he knew the 35-mph signs weren’t legal and therefore were as unenforceable (if challenged) as, say, 10-mph signs.

  • GreatRedeemer

    The city wants 35 MPH, the state say no. The city does not want the train tracks on Race closed at the same time Sugar Ridge is closed, CSX says no.
    So much for home town rule.

    • DukeGanote

      Under home rule, Ohio municipalities are responsible for posting signs in accordance with the law, but some of Ohio’s 681 villages and 251 cities are more flagrant than citizens in violating the law. Plus, they use tax-funded attorneys to rationalize their misbehavior. In townships, the State DOT posts the signs on State Routes — simple; no problem.

      IMO Ohio DOT should be responsible for State Routes, whether in-or-out of municipalities, for the greater good of Ohioans — rather than kowtowing to anyone whose chooses to live along a State Route and wants to fantasize it’s just a local residential street. That’s how nearby States like Indiana do it. As one Indiana traffic engineer responded to me when I asked him who was responsible for the speed limits on Indiana routes inside cities: “They’re STATE roads, so the STATE department of transportation is.”

  • Heather Arkley

    So If I just received a ticket this evening during full blown rush hour 6pm and was in heavy traffic, 45 mph zone and the officer pulls me over does a ILLEGAL uturn cutting off traffic in it all to get me and another guy pulled over and then gives ME the ticket, after stating I was only one doing 54 in a 35. Contrar Officer, I said NO I was not speeding I was going under 50 so was the guy that just took off you are not ticketing. He said sit tight be right back. Runs my plate. No points since age 19! ( I am turning 40 this year! ) And well , guess what GIVES ME A CITATION today for speed. HOW DANDY. N RIDGEVILLE. This officers wife is p.o’ed that its rush hour traffic , you state you say I am speeding in it. And you clocked me with radar at that. 54 in a 35! Really.
    He put on the ticket Atlantic /& RT 83. Not. I was on RT83 yes. but no where near Atlantic ( the new Ryan homes built area when he so called clocked me)….
    This guy has upset me. This road has multiple signs. Articles all over the internet from ODOT stating they changed it from CENTER RIDGE RD TO MILLS! in 2014! Um read much officer?
    ODOT Over road the manual change from NR city halls change in 2013!
    DUH. Get a clue. Back woods I think so.
    Common case law. Just do some reading. So upset ruined my Friday evening!
    Pure Ignorance. Why do this to our fellow society just do the right signs and impose the right ordinances for proper safety!