Residents complain about Batavia Township roads

Residents of a Batavia Township road that has been connected to the village of Amelia are asking the trustees to do something about traffic, which they said has made their road and yards dangerous to be around.

Huntington Avenue, which formerly existed as a dead end, is extremely narrow where the houses are located, said residents, and traffic coming from either direction often fails to take into account the lack of two full lanes when traveling past the houses.

“Huntington Avenue has gone through a dramatic change in the past year,” said resident Dave Lehn. “It was a dead end, but now they’ve added on. What you have is, either end is 25 feet wide, and in the center you have cars moving at a rapid pace and having trouble passing each other. Our houses are about 29 feet back from the street, we’re very close, and when the cars come by, it seems like the cars are right at your door.”

According to Lehn, the road narrows to only 15 feet wide where the houses are located in what used to be a dead end. However, a housing development built in Amelia tapped into the back end of that dead end road, creating a situation where two wide sections of road narrows to a one lane portion in the middle. Lehn said that something needs to be done before the situation worsens.

“I know we can’t reinvent the wheel tonight,” said Lehn. “This is becoming busier, and we’d like to nip it in the bud now. I don’t know what you guys can do. There isn’t even any signage for speed.”

The trustees agreed that the situation was a problem, but said that it wasn’t a rare one.

“We have this problem on so many roads,” said trustee Deborah Clepper. “I don’t know what we’re permitted to do by law, but one of the options is to have our township deputy monitor it. Sometimes, their presence is enough to do the trick. People will speed, and it becomes a problem, but we can keep it on the list to monitor.”

Lehn said that the problem is often at its worst during the afternoon hours when people are heading home from work. Larger vehicles, he said, cause a special problem. School busses, garbage trucks and even semis try to navigate the road that can’t accommodate two cars side by side, much less the larger vehicles. According to the trustees, an offer was made by the housing development’s developer to widen the road at that location, but the residents rejected the idea at the time.

“When Freedom Homes did the development, they did offer to widen that area, but the residents opted not to get that done,” said Clepper. “I think their thought was, the more narrow the road, the less traffic.”

However, the opposite has proven true now, with traffic only increasing as the density within the village grows. Trustee Archie Wilson said that people will often use the shortest route, and blamed the proliferation of stub streets with creating problems like this where no problems existed before.

“There are a bunch of stub streets, and it’s only going to get worse,” said Wilson. “People aren’t going to go the long way, they’ll go the short way. It’s a straight, long road, with nothing to slow them down.”

The trustees also discussed some improvements to the township park, including the rental of a portable toilet for use by parkgoers when the township hall is closed. A walking path and soccer field have drawn large crowds to the park, which has a need for facilities to support the use.

“We’ve seen a lot of people using the property, and it seems like we could use a portable toilet for them to use,” said township administrator Rex Parsons. “This is a handicap facility, so it’s wide so someone can go in to assist their child. There will be a hand sanitizer as well. It will be cleaned out once a week.”

The unit will most likely be enclosed somehow to minimize the visual impact, and will likely be joined by better facilities in later phases of park construction.

“I’ve seen these in other parks,” said Clepper. “They built something around it so it’s kind of hidden. We are surprised at the number of people using the park, so it will be very well used.”

The trustees also discussed awarding contracts to farmers willing to bale hay in some of the township park’s back fields. Anyone interested in cutting and baling the hay can call the township at (513) 732-3888.