Speeding concerns escalate in the Westerville community as neighbors petition for reduced speeds on a popular residential street.
Paul Weiner, Otterbein's Chief of Police, said neighboring families are actively working with the Westerville Police Department, traffic engineers and the city manager to increase enforcement and to reduce the overall speed limit to 25 mph down the entirety of N. West Street.
“The resident advised that excessive speeds have been an on-going problem on the street, and that the residents as a group were lobbying the city to reduce the 35 mph zone closer to County Line Road to 25 mph, the same as it is closer to W. Main Street,” said Weiner, “The residents were also asking Westerville Police for additional speed enforcement.”
Chief Weiner said he has observed Otterbein students and staff traveling at high speeds in some campus parking lots, particularly the stadium and east campus center lots.
“In the interest of being a good neighbor, and also in the interest of just sending a reminder about safety, I issued an email to our community to be cognizant of their speeds,” Weiner said.
Olivia Manchester, a sophomore residential student, drives N. West Street to get to Polaris for food and shopping many times in a week.
“It is busy. People go so fast, too fast,” she said. “It is dangerous because people are crossing the road and Westerville is a very family friendly oriented place. People are always walking their dogs.”
Manchester said the speed change implement will help Otterbein students see that they are in a community of families outside their daily college life, “It makes a difference. I think people can spread awareness. We should be more aware of our surroundings.”
Eric Grady has lived in the Otterbein community for 25 years and currently resides on N. West Street with his wife, an Otterbein alum, and two children. Grady said that over nine years, traffic has gotten worse and because he has previously worked for the fire department, he cares a lot for everyone’s safety, especially since Otterbein has a big residential area.
Grady includes that it is not just Otterbein students speeding, it is everyone who adds N. West Street to their route, “with construction on Cleveland Avenue, people use N. West Street as a short cut. We are finding it hard to back out of our homes, I was honked at for going slow from someone speeding down the street,” he said, “There are also children getting on and off of school buses.”
Grady gathered 63 signatures from every homeowner on N. West Street and Sunset Drive in petitioning the city to act. “I felt the opportunity for the city to be proactive about safety," he said. “The city has agreed on placing a speed radar and a 25mph sign to gather data.”
Grady says that both the speed radar and speed limit sign has helped, and it will relocate further north to implement a wider impact.