After a buggy accident, people often ask “Why can’t there be buggy lanes for the Amish?” One big roadblock is cost. It’s generally judged too expensive to install buggy lanes in most of the hundreds of small communities where Amish live. So in reality it tends to happen primarily in the largest settlements.
With that in mind, there is the good news that buggy lanes are coming (or rather, more of them) to the fourth largest settlement, in Geauga County, Ohio. We first covered this in early 2019. It’s part of a multi-million dollar project to improve safety for Amish in the region. From the Geauga County Maple Leaf:
Buggy lanes will be built along state Route 608 north of Middlefield Village starting at Nauvoo Road and ending 2,500 feet north of Burton Windsor Road, said Brent Kovacs, public information officer for ODOT in a phone interview last week.
The project calls for extending the lanes over the hill to the north of Burton Windsor Road, making the area much safer for slower-moving traffic.
There will also be 8-foot-wide lanes paved on either side of Kinsman Road from Hayes Road to the Trumbull County line, said Geauga County Deputy Engineer Shane Hajjar over the phone Sept. 21. Buggy lanes already exist along Kinsman Road in Trumbull County.
The lanes and other smaller projects are scheduled to go out for bid by mid-October, with work to begin in the spring of 2021 and be completed in two years, he said.
In addition, paved shoulders will be added for foot and scooter traffic:
To accommodate Amish foot and scooter traffic, 4-foot-wide paved shoulders will be added to state Route 168 between Newcomb and Shed roads and on Mumford Road from Patch Road to Route 168, Hajjar said.
Newcomb is scheduled to be reconstructed and repaved during the process, he said.
“These are not designed as buggy lanes,” he said, adding they will be too narrow.
The plan also calls for installing flashing-light signage outside Amish schools indicating a 20 MPH speed limit during certain hours. Sounds like a good idea too.
By the way, ever been stuck behind a buggy in a line of traffic crawling through a “no pass” zone? Amish buggy drivers don’t enjoy that situation either:
Noah Wengerd, an Amish safety committee member, said those driving buggies in his community want to avoid motor vehicles whenever possible and many will pull their buggies off to the side of the road when traffic piles up behind them.
“If we can get out of the way, even for a couple of hundred feet, that’s very good for us,” he said.
Buggy lanes are going to alleviate that situation and should improve safety in this community of 19,000 Amish. Good to see this project moving forward.
Photo credits: S.I.