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Resident takes speed limit issue into own hands, replaces signs on Cleveland street

CLEVELAND – Someone posing as a city worker illegally replaced more than a dozen speed limit signs on Franklin Boulevard Saturday.

Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone said he was among those who saw a photo on social media of a man, wearing a vest and hard hat, atop a ladder. He replaced the signs indicating a 35 mph speed limit with signs for a 25 mph limit.

“I was shocked,” Zone said. “I thought, ‘Wow, the city finally listened to our plea,’ only to find out Monday that the city did not do this.”

Zone said he and residents have been pushing for years to have the speed limit reduced on the 2-mile road, which he calls dangerous.

He said one resident apparently took matters into his own hands, perhaps purchasing signs online or from a vendor.

“People really wanted to create change, and I think this was some activism on residents' part to try to make change in their neighborhood,” Zone said.

The illegal signs remained posted for four days. City workers removed them on Wednesday. Utility poles remained bare Thursday, with no speed limit signs posted on the street.

City officials said they expected 35 mph signs to be put back up by the end of the week at a potential cost estimated at about $1,000.

The culprit could face charges, if identified.

Zone said he’s secured funding for a traffic study of the street to begin in May that could help to legally lower the speed limit on the street. Franklin Boulevard is considered a through street with a required 35 mph limit under state law.

“If you have it signed for 35, people are invariably doing 40. And it creates an unsafe environment, it's not appropriate in an urban center,” Zone said.

The City of Cleveland released a statement Thursday saying it will work with concerned residents to get the speed limit lowered:

"The City will collaborate with the residents and City Council as they petition the State of Ohio to change the speed limit. In the meantime, in accordance with State of Ohio law, the speed limit will remain 35 miles per hour on Franklin Boulevard."

**Editor's note: This story was updated at 5 p.m. on 3/23 to reflect a statement from the City of Cleveland.**