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Toledo approves signs in response to trail tragedy

October 18, 2012
By Jimmy Gillispie - Staff Writer , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Toledo's City Council members want to prevent another tragic accident, like the one that claimed the life of a South Tama eighth grader.

That's why they voted to post new signs on the west side of town, near and on the recreational trail. The council unanimously approved the new signage on the trail and on Ross Street by the Toledo City Park.

"I talked to (city attorney) Nancy (Burk) and she had concern around the park," City Clerk Julie Wilkerson said. "People are coming off the highway, taking that old Business 30 and flying through the park as a shortcut. I think we need signage there before they go over the bridge.

Article Photos

The entrance to the South Tama Recreation Trial on West Ross Street in Toledo. City council members approved new traffic signs in the area to improve safety.
Chronicle/Jimmy Gillispie

"We talked about putting pedestrian crossing signs on both sides of Ross Street where the walking trail crosses the road," she said. "Then we'd also put some type of warning on the walking trail."

The city council agreed to place 25 mph signs on the west side of the city park to slow traffic down as it enters town, along with posting pedestrian crossing signs on Ross Street for east- and west-bound traffic. The other approved signage was to post smaller stop signs, similar to those along the bicycle path on Broadway Street, on both sides of the recreational trail where it crosses Ross Street.

This comes in response to the tragic accident Oct. 1 in Tama where Ian McFate was killed crossing 13th Street, while running on the trail for cross country practice. The City of Tama was scheduled to discuss safety on the trail at its meeting Monday night.

"It's sad to do it after the fact," Burk said. "Jack and I have been walking down to the park all summer and the other day, there was a car that I swear was doing 60 mph. People are late to work and they're flying through there.

"When they are headed east and they go through the park, there is a point where they are lower than the bridge," she said. "There have been runners and walkers that are crossing that could not have seen that car coming. We need to get the traffic slowed down on the west side of that bridge, so they don't come flying over that."

The speed limit on Ross Street is 25 mph, except inside the city park, where it drops to 15 mph. However the speed limit is 25 mph where the recreational trail crosses the road, just east of the bridge along Ross Street.

"It's probably the same people everyday," Goodhart said in response to Burk's comments. "If (Police Chief) Bob (Kendall), or whoever is on duty, spends a little time down there, they're going to realize that we are serious about it."

The city council even brought up the idea of speed bumps along that stretch of Ross Street. Toledo resident Kendall Jordan made a different suggestion to the council.

"We talked about speed bumps at our meeting," Jordan said. "Speed bumps works, but up to a point, because after about 25 mph, your car takes the shock and you fly across it without noticing it. Speed humps are a better alternative, because if you hit it going 35 mph, your car will bottom out. The intention is that you will feel the shock."

Another local resident, Roger Wacha, added to the discussion last week. Wacha was at the meeting for a different topic, but he agreed that pedestrian crossing signs should be added on Ross Street.

"A pedestrian crossing sign on the highway would be good," Wacha said. "Down in Tama, there's nothing on that highway that says there is a trail or anything like that. We all know there is a trail there. But they also put the speed limit sign about 20 feet past the trail and most people are probably doing 55 before they get to the sign. It's not legal and we all know that.

"We've been hauling corn out that way the last few days," he added. "Once you get past the stop sign at the golf course, it's easy to pick your speed up. I can see how that happens. But the speed limit sign doesn't change until after you get out past the trail."

Burk added, saying that she's had people ask her to get them out of a speeding ticket by telling her that they can speed up to the speed limit once they see the sign. However, the speed limit doesn't change until a car has reached the sign.

Stop signs, similar to those along the bicycle path on Broadway Street, were discussed last week. The city council suggested those smaller stop signs should be added on the recreational trail where it crosses Ross Street.

"My little 6-year-old stops whenever she sees one of those little stop signs," Councilmember Travis Mullen said. "She gets mad at me if I don't stop. The kids pay attention to those."

Councilmember Jeff Filloon will represent the city council at the next recreational trail meeting, which is at noon on Friday, to further discuss safety on the trail and the roads intersecting the trail.



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