US 20: Helps shape life in Fayette (#2)

Written by David Green.

By LISA KLOK

And what does all this traffic on US 20 mean for the people of Fayette? It means different things for different people, of course.

For the R & H restaurant, US 20 is their bread and butter, or it helps to sell a lot of their bread and butter, rather.

Manager Charlene May said she estimates 40 percent of the business, which includes the gas island and the restaurant, comes from people traveling the road, especially truckers.

rh-monday “I couldn’t make it with just local people. You need people from out of town to keep it going,” she said.

On a recent afternoon, nine people were in the restaurant; six of them were out-of-towners.

Charlene guesses that CB radio helps the business. When semi drivers are heading down US 20, they can ask other drivers for a suggestion of where to eat; fellow drivers who know the road might suggest R & H.

Charlene knows word gets around because oftentimes drivers will stop in wanting to buy the bread they’ve heard about.

“The word is out there,” Charlene said.

And that’s another thing. Charlene carries bread from the Bake Shop, honey from Mel Wyse’s farm and Molly’s soybean candles from a woman in Delta, Ohio. The sale of these items helps to support other local businesses as well.

Charlene also mentioned that R & H is conducive to semi drivers stopping because of the ample parking available to them.

Merchants farther west along the road aren’t as enthusiastic about the traffic as Charlene.

Slocum’s Dry Goods owner Sharry Becker worries about the speed at which the trucks come through.

“They shake these hundred-year-old businesses,” she said.

Sharry said most of her out-of-town business comes from people who came to Fayette to eat or to visit the Open MRI and end up walking around. Otherwise, she’s not sure how much business the road brings in from people who just happen to be passing through.

“We’re not catching them; we have to catch them,” she said.

And she’s not the only one who thinks so. Another local merchant would like to see the village become more enticing to people passing through and make parking options, such as parking behind businesses and in the lot across from Sky Bank, more readily apparent to people traveling US 20.

Village administrator Tom Spiess said US 20 is valuable to the village of Fayette.

Spiess said monitoring the flow of traffic to determine where traffic is mostly coming from and where it is mostly going is priceless to village officials. This information can then be used to help decide future developments in the village.

Jane Stiriz also has a business on US 20. She says the road is handy when she gives travelers directions.

But what about living on the road? Jane says that there’s a lot of traffic, but it’s not a huge problem. And she says sometimes it’s hard to get across the road, but she assumes that would be the case for anyone living on a major road. But perhaps most refreshing of all, Jane thinks it’s funny to live in the village where US 20 meets US 127 and uses her location as a joke.

“I like to tell people I live at the crossroads of America,” Jane said.

 Traffic survey

Four four-hour shifts. Two days, two weeks apart. Morning and afternoon counts.

Fayette police chief Rick Kline thinks his department members came up with a fairly good sample of daytime traffic through the village.

Chief Kline knew there was a lot of traffic through town, but still, he was surprised when he looked through the numbers.

Police department members were assigned the task to fulfill requirements from the Ohio Department of Transportation. In order to replace the stoplights at the corner of Main and Fayette streets, the village had to confirm the need for lights. A count of traffic through the intersection proved the obvious point.

Kline found there was an average of seven vehicles every minute during the two morning surveys, from 7 to 11 a.m.. Traffic picked up in the afternoon count to nearly nine a minute. On the average, two of those vehicles were commercial.

Kline look at statistics from a similar study four years earlier that covered the hours from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. The number of commercial vehicles dropped only to 1.5 a minute, or 90 trucks every hour, all night long.

Kline discovered from his recent study that commercial vehicles tend to arrive from the west at about five an hour more than from the east.

In the morning count, there were 46 more passenger cars arriving from the west during the four-hour period, but in the afternoon there were 100 more hitting town from the east.

More passenger and commercial traffic comes north into town from St. Rt. 66 than the amount heading south down the state highway.

- Feb. 25, 2004
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