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MUNROE FALLS -- For a long time, frustrated motorists northbound on Route 91 have been unable to turn left onto Munroe Falls Avenue when a train was crossing the road to the north, but that has changed.
Police Chief Jerry Hughes said that as of April 20, there is now a left turn signal that will activate to allow such turns. Hughes initially announced that the move was coming in an April 14 post on the police department's Facebook page.
"The citizens of Munroe Falls have spoken, and I have listened," Hughes wrote. "I have received numerous requests to have the traffic light at Munroe Falls and Main Street be changed for north bound traffic to get a green left turn arrow when traffic is stopped for the train. The arrow would allow for the N/B traffic to turn left, and hopefully improve the traffic situation. Traffic engineering has informed me that within the next two weeks they will change over the traffic light per my request. We will try this for 30-60 days, and see if this improves the flow of traffic without causing increased accidents."
Hughes told the Stow Sentry that, "I've had people complaining."
"While they're lining up there in traffic, if they want to go up Munroe Falls Avenue, they have to sit there and wait," said Hughes. "So I said, 'let's try a left turn arrow and see how it works.'"
Hughes said that now, traffic coming out of the shopping plaza opposite Munroe Falls Avenue is being looked at to see if there is a way it can be allowed to exit during train crossings.
According to an Akron Metropolitan Area Traffic Study report, a 2013 traffic count showed more than 14,300 vehicles travel along Route 91 and about 8,600 vehicles on Munroe Falls Avenue in the area around the intersection. According to a 2014 Federal Railroad Administration report, 32 trains cross Route 91 per day.
Service Director Jim Bowery told the Stow Sentry that the city contracts with Stow for work on traffic signals. He said that years ago, there was a green arrow that allowed left turns during train crossings, but it was switched off at the request of a previous police chief.
"In February, we asked [Stow] to switch it back on a trial period," he said.
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