Stop light perishes at Parish

It's stop and go at Columbus Avenue intersection.
Andy Ouriel
Dec 20, 2013


Some motorists seem frustrated.

The problem? This past weekend’s snowstorm damaged the entire traffic light system at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and West Parish Street, near the Sandusky U.S. Post Office.

“Because the pole had fallen over and the signals were on the ground, we had to remove it,” Sandusky engineer Aaron Klein said. “The pole had rotted through and could not be reused”

In the meantime, city officials placed makeshift stop signs on both sides of Parish Street. People on Columbus Avenue now don’t yield when they approach and pass through the intersection.

“That’s dangerous” said one man who called the Register Thursday. “It’s an accident waiting to happen”

Klein couldn’t answer whether the light would be replaced and how much it could cost.

“Those are all things that are being analyzed” Klein said.

It’s apparent by commuter outrage a street light is both wanted and needed in this area.

“I can not think of why they would want to remove a traffic signal at such an important intersection,” a reader wrote via email.




Traffic lights are often installed more for politically reasons than anything else, and once in place, are politically difficult to remove, even when the the expense is no longer justified (if it ever was.)

Restoring the traffic light won't make much difference in the number of car crashes, because cars can run a red light just as easily as a stop sign. On the other hand, during times of heavy traffic, a light can make things marginally better for pedestrians trying to cross the busier of the two streets, and for car trying to proceed from the side street. But that comes at the expense of delaying traffic on the main street.

Also, stopping fewer cars saves fuel and reduces air pollution.

At the end of the day, to save tax money, it's a good idea to seize every opportunity to get rid of a traffic light when the benefits no longer justify the cost.


For those that don't know it, that traffic light was installed as the result of a petition signed by area residents and presented to the city commission at the time, in the name of safety. West Parish Street was soon to become a thru street, connecting it to the western end of the existing portion of Parish Street along the Post Office. It was felt that having a traffic light at Columbus and Parish would be a good move especially since the opened street would now provide additional traffic, making it a much busier intersection. At some point in time, the city also came and installed crosswalk buttons to allow children and any other citizen to bring the traffic to a halt in order to safely cross the street. It was important then, and it remains important today, despite a poorly maintained utility pole. The city should be working diligently to replace the damaged pole and restore the safety aspect of the intersection at the earliest possibility.

I can appreciate the removal of a traffic signal when conditions for which the signal was installed have changed. But in this case, the conditions have not changed. Hancock School remains in existence, the U.S. Post Office remains very active, and the same can be said of the Job and Family Services also located on West Parish Street. The argument in favor of saving fuel and reducing air pollution is weak at best, since the same vehicles continue to use the intersection.


The proper studies (called warrents) were never done, so nobody knows if the light is warrented or not. More likely than not, the pole and lights will be replaced, but its not going to happen overnight. A metal strain pole would be better than another wooden pole, due to unfavorable conditions to guying a wooden pole without going into someones yard with a sidewalk guy. In the meantime, if you must travel that intersection please be careful and alert. If you can avoid it, due so by taking an alternate route.

JudgeMeNot's picture

Its nice to see the city being politically correct with the stop sign for midgets.


One less traffic light in Sandusky! Now trafficman, can you PLEASE replace the stop sign with a Yeild sign on Sanford as you exit the new overpass ?