Pyle-South Amherst Road seems to be a dragway.
Oberlin city council members said they’ve received a number of calls complaining about excess speed putting pedestrians in danger along the 25 mile-per-hour road.
The good news is that the span from West Hamilton Street to State Rt. 511 will be completely revamped in 2019 and a bike lane will be added.
The not-so-good news, according to council members, is that the project is strictly resurfacing and the design doesn’t address safety concerns for pedestrians.
An ownership split between Oberlin and New Russia Township means the estimated $718,000 repaving effort will be jointly funded with 85 percent covered by the city and 15 percent by the township.
Going 334 feet north from West Hamilton Road to Oberlin’s corporation limit on the east side of Pyle-South Amherst Road, the township will provide 100 percent of the project costs from its general, gasoline tax, and road and bridge funds.
North 906 feet to Oberlin’s limits on the west side of Pyle, the cost will be divided 50-50 between the township and the city.
New Russia Township fiscal officer Lisa Akers said the trustees will apply for a $250,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. The township’s match amount would be roughly $66,000 and the city would provide $374,000 from its 2019 income tax capital improvement fund and $27,418 in additional design services.
The scope of work includes pulverizing and re-compacting existing asphalt. Base repair will be followed by 1.75 feet of asphalt and a fiberglass polyester paving mat, which will improve structure.
Where possible, the road will be expanded to a consistent 20-foot width. Right now, it fluctuates between 18 to 21, except on the south end where two bike lanes push the road to 28-feet wide.
Pavement markings including crosswalks, stop bars, center and edge lines, and bike lane markings will be thermoplastic for improved visibility and durability. Sharrows will be added to promote cyclist safety. The North Coast Inland Trail intersection will be marked in high-visibility green thermoplastic.
The total project length is just over a mile at 5,299 feet.
Pavement conditions differ in the various segments of Pyle-South Amherst Road. Between West Hamilton and West Lorain streets, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency rated the road in “poor” condition. South of Morgan Street, it is rated “fair.”
In NOACA’s 2016 pavement condition report for Oberlin, Pyle-South Amherst is the lowest rated street. We drove along the stretch to gauge if that assessment was fair.
The slim two-way road is unmarked. There aren’t any potholes, but it is a bumpy ride. Most noticeably, the mile-long road is void of any stop signs, and city engineer Randall Roberts said long stretches of road encourage faster driving.
Yet the resurfacing project doesn’t address speeding.
“I think more paving markings may have some effect on some motorists because it breaks up the road instead of this long distance that you’re traveling,” Roberts said. “I don’t know how effective that is, so I don’t claim it to be a traffic calming device.”
Councilman Kelley Singleton said after repaving South Professor Street, it became a race strip, and he’s concerned the same will happen on Pyle-South Amherst.
Center line striping is included in the project design plan but Roberts said he’s not a fan of visibly splitting the road.
A dividing line wasn’t drawn on South Professor Street because of the bike lanes.
“There are some people that think you cannot cross a double yellow line no matter what,” Roberts said. “You’re supposed to give a cyclist three feet and to do that, you sometimes have to cross a double yellow line.”
Pedestrians traversing from their homes to the bike path are in danger of being hit, councilwoman Heather Adelman said. Councilwoman Kristin Peterson added that she has to pass through peoples’ front yards while walking her dog.
A plan for sidewalks “seems unrealistic,” but she asked if it could be included in the plans.
The berm will be improved, giving more of an edge to the roadway, Roberts said. It’s not for the purpose of pedestrian traffic, he said, but “if someone was running along the road, I guess that gives them a little place to move over.”
Culverts and roadside ditches would make adding a sidewalk difficult, he said.
“This is truly a road resurfacing project,” city manager Rob Hillard said. “This is not intended to solve the pedestrian walking problem at this point. It’s maybe something council can take up in the future.”
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.