The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

January 8, 2013

Roadside walkers alarm residents and trustees

By Sandy Scarmack
Herald Staff Writer

BROOKFIELD — In what he called a “temporary fix” to a dangerous problem, Brookfield Trustee Chairman Ronald Haun wants to issue a memo to police and anyone else driving along old Route 82 to be on the lookout for pedestrians.

Several residents complained at Monday’s meeting that people, presumably without transportation of their own, are walking to grocery stores and other businesses, creating a traffic hazard and jeopardizing their own safety.

One resident said he has stopped several times and offered the walkers a ride, but generally gets told no. “Just last night my wife came upon a man walking down the middle of the road. What are you supposed to do? Something bad is going to happen,” he said.

“I want to know what we can do about it?” he added. “Some of these people are carrying groceries, and with the snow on the side of the road,  it’s even worse,” he said.

Police Chief Dan Faustino said that while the situation is dangerous, it is not illegal. All of the trustees recounted one time or another when they have seen people walking, but said sidewalks along old Route 82 are not likely anytime soon.

“We brought this subject up to Trumbull County Commissioners a couple years ago and they were not interested,” said Trustee Phil Schmidt, who also volunteers as a driver for the senior citizen van. “I’ve stopped too and asked if they wanted a ride, but usually they say no,” he added.

Faustino said he has warned people that they need to walk against traffic for safety reasons. He said he will work on producing a pedestrian safety brochure.

Haun also said he wanted to toss out the idea that if residents of local personal care homes are walking along the road that perhaps the facilities could issue safety vests. “I’m not saying any of this is a great fix, but if we could just make people aware of the situation it’s better than nothing.”

And looking toward the safety of the township’s elderly residents, trustees want to start an “Are You OK?” program, similar to other township safety programs. It would involve checking on the elderly on a regular basis, but officials are looking for volunteers to start it.

Trustee Gary Lees said he would talk with other townships and find out how they started similar programs.

In financial business, Faustino recommended trustees adopted a section of the Ohio Revised Code that allows police to charge for false alarm calls. In the section of the code that trustees approved, police can charge $50 after the fourth false alarm in a year; $100 for the fifth, and $150 for all false alarms in that same year.

Faustino said in an effort to keep his patrolmen on the road and available, he wants to encourage businesses and residents to fix problems that led to repeated false alarm calls.

Jaime Fredenburg, township road supervisor discussed increased fuel costs for all the departments, compared with four  years ago.

“People ask, ‘Where does the money go?’, well, we’re spending probably $35,000 to $40,000 more now than four years ago. And that’s just gas. Not too mention the price of materials and everything else going up.  We’re feeling it here too, just like you are,” he said.