BOE plans to vote on flip signs
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · January 25, 2013

From September to January, the city council went back and forth on the flip stop signs at Main and Oliphant streets — make them permanent, leave them as-is, or take them down entirely.

Then the latter measure failed on a tie vote and the issue effectively died.

For now.

Mike Owen predicts this issue will return because, as the school board president said, it has before.

So on Jan. 14 he asked the rest of the West Branch Board of Education to consider passing a resolution to clarify its position on the stop signs which control traffic before and after school, getting families to and from Hoover Elementary.

Owen opened the discussion by acknowledging the stop signs “are not under our jurisdiction,” but that it might help the city council should the question arise again.

While the school board did not vote on a resolution at that meeting, no one seemed to favor removing all traffic control devices from that intersection.

Board member Carolyn Harold addressed the concern about “inconsistency” — that there are times when one of the two signs are left up.

“It’s rare,” she said, saying it would be better to make the signs permanent.

Superintendent Kevin Hatfield said there had been two bus drivers who flipped the signs, but now there is only one, which reduces mistakes.

Board member Deb Schreiber said Iowa City uses “Yield to Pedestrian” signs.

“Has anyone discussed that?” she said.

Hatfield said no, but he and City Administrator Matt Muckler had discussed other possibilities — keeping the signs temporary, making them permanent, or keeping them up during the entire school day.

Owen suggested painting crosswalks at the three-way intersection.

“We need something there,” Schreiber added.

Harold referenced crossing counts.

“What are there, five kids?” she said. “Then that’s five kids who need to be kept safe.”

Owen said he has “never bought into the idea that it is a serious inconvenience to stop there.”

“This comes up every four or five years,” he said. “Sooner or later they’ll probably be permanent.”

“Or we could wait until somebody gets hurt,” board member Kathy Knoop interjected.

Owen suggested the school board pass a resolution at the February meeting.

“I hope (the city council) understands our concerns,” Hatfield said.

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