Left Turn Bans Onto Easton Avenue Panned By Area Residents

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker defended left turn bans onto Easton Avenue at the Nov. 27 Township Council meeting.

A newly instituted ban on left turns from three streets onto Easton Avenue was roundly criticized by area residents at the Nov. 27 Township Council meeting.

The council at its Nov. 8 meeting approved the ordinance, which bans left turns from Walnut Avenue, Culver Street and Lakeside Avenue onto Easton Avenue.

The ban comes in the wake of an Oct. 4 accident at Culver and Easton, in which a 59-year-old Clinton woman was killed. Township officials have said the ban is not in reaction to that, but had been discussed for some time.

Area residents’ main beef with the ban is that they now have to travel further on roads that were not built for high traffic and which do not have sidewalks. Those who used to turn left onto Easton now have to travel to Willow Road or DeMott Lane to make the U-turn onto the county highway.

Several of the residents suggested that instead of the turn ban, a traffic light should be installed.

John E. Busch Avenue resident John Crowley said that the ban is “creating a nightmare in the mornings.”

“If you go down and sit at 2nd Street and Willow, you’ll see people making a right-hand turn  coming up Willow, turning into the children’s center, making an illegal u-turn in the children’s center and coming back,” he said.

Crowley said he could understand a ban during high traffic hours, but not 24 hours.

“I leave at a quarter-to-five in the morning,” he said. “It’s just me. Now I have to go all the way down to DeMott Lane and make a u-turn.”

“Put a traffic light up in the middle, between Willow and Cedar Grove Lane,” he said. “That might be a better idea than just blocking off an entire community.”

Laurie Crowley told the council members that they “thought you were creating a better situation by doing this, in the end you’re going to have more accidents, more traffic and more problems.”

“I have to go all the way to 4th Street, which is the first street to take me to Willow,” she said. “Otherwise, I go down a block, get stuck, have to make a u-turn, go down another block, get stuck, have to make another u-turn. There’s school buses with little kids when I leave, their parents have no idea what to do with them. They’re running around, you have multiple cars coming down the streets fast because they’re lost.”

“Are you going to help anybody?” she asked. “Something needs to be done, a traffic light would be perfect. What it is now, you’re going to have a worse situation as time goes on.”

Joseph Horling also agreed that a traffic light would be a better solution than a turn ban.

“I do agree that a traffic light would alleviate all the problems at Culver,” he said. “I don’t think there was any consideration taken of the effect it would have on our very small residential roads. They’re not made for this traffic flow.”

“I just don’t know if it was completely thought out, or if a traffic study was down on our street,’ Horling said.

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker said the ban on left turns from those streets has been contemplate for years, and also nixed the idea of a traffic light in that area.

“The traffic signal is not (a solution) that would be considered,” he said. “Oftentimes people think that the traffic signal is the panacea to issues related to turn problems, the reality is that traffic signals often end up causing more accidents than they prevent.”

That, he said “really makes it impractical and not really a recommended choice.”

Vornlocker said he would have the Franklin Township Police Department’s traffic safety bureau look at the traffic issues on the streets in the neighborhood, but, he said, “I truly believe this council made the right decision in prohibiting those turns.”

“Sometimes there is an inconvenience for some for the greater good of the population here,” Vornlocker said. “There are a great deal of people traveling down Easton Avenue every day. The left turns from those side streets is not a safe movement.”

“We have to look at what the greater picture is, and the smaller one, and certainly there may be some relief from that,” he said. “I don’t think rescinding the ordinance is necessary.”


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