Stop sign vote flips yet again
by Rick DeClue · News · December 07, 2012

Council member Mark Worrell changed his vote again, and so a plan to put a permanent stop sign at Main and Oliphant streets failed Monday on a 2-2 vote.

The proposal had already passed the first and second reading, but needed one more majority approval for passage.

After the vote, Council Member Colton Miller asked that a request to remove the existing flip signs be included on the agenda for the councilís Dec. 17 meeting. He based this request on what he considers a lack of consistency for drivers due to the flip signs.

Worrell said that he does not believe permanent stop signs will help slow down speeders, which was his original concern when he brought the issue to the council months ago.

He said the speed issue had somehow evolved into an ordinance for replacement of the flip signs, which have been in place for more than 30 years.

Worrell said recent counts at the intersection showed seven to nine children using the crossing before and after school, including a large portion of pupils approaching from the east. He noted there are other places to cross east of Oliphant Street.

City administrator Matt Muckler said he had spoken to West Branch School Superintendent Kevin Hatfield, and they counted five to 15 students using the crossing.

Muckler told the council that Hatfield had received phone calls from parents expressing concern with the crossing conditions at Oliphant Street. Muckler said he had discussed alternatives to the stop signs with Hatfield, including formal dedication as a school zone crossing and the option of using crossing guards.

Muckler said he was told by Hatfield that the school district already had two crossing guards, and that assigning a third school district employee to crossing duties might be difficult. The prospect of hiring a crossing guard was discussed, with the possibility of the city and school district splitting the $25 per day cost.

Worrell wondered why the city should share costs for a crossing guard in light of the recent investment by the city to build new sidewalks to the school. Muckler noted that the school district contributed $11,500 to the sidewalk projects.

The council agreed to consider installing a designated school crossing at Oliphant Street.

They also discussed alternative routes to cross Main Street, making the school responsible for teaching pupils the safest routes. This would likely require the city and school district coming together on the sidewalk issue for Poplar Street to make that a safe route.

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