Traffic Management

UPDATE: Fairlawn has re-opened Cleveland-Massillon Road! And the new traffic plan exacerbates problems by ELIMINATING A LEFT HAND TURN at the I-77 exit. How is that going to work for commercial vehicles serving Copley Township, or school buses for things like sports events at the Copley High School or Copley-Fairlawn Middle School? How about a two lane roundabout that exists to a closed road? It’s just another example of how Fairlawn’s government is out of touch. Learn More.

Have you ever sat in standstill traffic on South Cleveland-Massillon Road? Maybe you were traveling from Copley and wanted to visit Home Depot. It should be a relatively short drive – go north on Cleveland-Massillon Rd. and turn left at West Market Street. But with rush hour this nearly 2 mile stretch of road is slow, and there seems to be no easy way to bypass it.

But what if there was?

Well, if you go back 10 years, it was possible to bypass the heavy traffic of Cleveland-Massillon Road by using Rothrock Road (also known as County Highway 202). This curved road, running roughly along I-77, and around the ‘Enclave’ at the now-defunct Rosemont Country Club and the Rosemont neighborhood provided access to a senior living center, a church, an apartment complex, and retail, as well as entry to some of Fairlawn’s most prestigious neighborhoods. There are less than a dozen single family homes along this 1.5 miles of country highway which has a speed limit of 35mph.

Now, why would a city like Fairlawn, which enjoys a healthy commercial tax base close this road? Back in 2010, Walmart considered moving from its location on West Market Street to 40 vacant acres along I-77, to the west of Rothrock Road, in Copley Township. The obvious reason for Fairlawn’s opposition to the move was the loss of tax revenue.

In 2011, the City of Fairlawn spent $320,000 dollars of taxpayer money to close Rothrock Road. This led to Copley Township filing a lawsuit against the City of Fairlawn and its officials. It is unknown how much more taxpayer money was spent by the city defending its action, but multiple appeals resulted in the Summit County Appellate Court upholding Fairlawn’s decision.

During the controversy, Fairlawn claimed “it is the city’s job to preserve the residential integrity of the neighborhood against shoppers who will use the road.” But this assertion doesn’t pass the sniff test. As one can see in the image below, Rothrock Road DOES NOT go through any neighborhood. In fact, even when one includes Rosemont Boulevard — which is also closed — fewer than a dozen residences would see increased traffic.

Now, why would would the City of Fairlawn take an anti-business position? One should assume that Fairlawn would continue to benefit from Walmart through taxes as part of the Joint Economic Development District to which it and Copley Township belong. It also wouldn’t be out of place for Walmart to be located adjacent to Best Buy, Home Depot, a Sherwin-Williams store, Urban Air, Planet Fitness, or a Cracker Barrel. Instead what may more likely is that the well-heeled people living in the Rosemont area, just don’t want a Walmart, and don’t want traffic nearby.

So maybe it isn’t so much that the number of families or households that would see changes in traffic, it’s just that the wrong ones would be inconvenienced.

Does the City of Fairlawn really care about the “residential integrity” of its other neighborhoods?

What do you think of traffic management in Fairlawn?

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