Archive for Thursday, January 13, 2005

Stop signs are likely to stay put

January 13, 2005

If the Baldwin City Council takes the recommendation of its safety committee, there will be no change with the stop signs located at Eighth and Dearborn streets.

Safety committee chairwoman Nancy Brown called a meeting Monday and invited interested Baldwin residents to make their opinions known to the committee and that the matter would be discussed. There were more than a dozen people at Monday's meeting, but none that spoke against the signs, only those for keeping them.

Myra Glover, also a member of the committee, brought up a different angle to the question. Most of the discussion had been about pedestrian traffic at the intersection and that's why many had objected to the stop signs, claiming the Baker University students who were to be protected by the signs while walking to and from the campus weren't using the crosswalks anyway.

"The bigger issue was the vehicle traffic east and west," Glover said. "It's as much about vehicle visibility as anything. It's not just the pedestrians. It's not just the Baker students, it's everyone."

Brown, who had earlier stated that she had overwhelming e-mail response to her plea for input on the issue and that response favored doing away with the stop signs, admitted that Glover's view was one she hadn't considered.

"I'm glad you make that point," said Brown. "I hadn't realized that."

Police Chief Mike McKenna also pointed out that yield signs instead of stop signs at the intersection wouldn't be the answer, especially since those are designed for yielding to traffic. He also pointed out that he'd had officers run tests through the intersection which found that the stop signs only cause an average of a four-second delay.

"I thought the point of this meeting was to discuss this," said McKenna. "I don't hear anyone here that opposes the stop signs. I believe I was the one who said 'let's go ahead and put the stop signs in. We've had no complaints.

"There's a four-second difference in stopping or not," he said. "I think we're taking up a lot of time about something that takes only four seconds. I don't think yield signs would make any difference."

Glover echoed the Chief's sentiments.

"I think it's ridiculous that we're revisiting this," she said. "I think we made a good decision."

Although other items were discussed, such as researching the reduction in accidents at the intersection since the stop signs were installed and paying someone to do a traffic study, in the end, the consensus was to keep the signs.

"With this in mind, I'm for recommending that the stop signs remain, that the intersection be enhanced and, like one woman told me, stop and smell the roses for those four seconds," Brown said.

Glover pointed out that the much bigger issue is to address the safety of smaller children crossing the highway. Utility Director Terry McKinney also mentioned that he'd had calls about the pedestrian light at the new traffic signal. People were telling him it wasn't working. He pointed out that the button has to be pushed to activate the crossing.

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