Pickerington Times-Sun

Council puts halt to plan to remove stop signs

By MICHAEL HAYES
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An ordinance before Pickerington City Council that targeted seven city intersections for stop sign removal failed to garner the support needed for approval at the Oct. 1 meeting.

The ordinance, if successful, would have amended the city's traffic control map to remove stop signs that, from an engineering and police standpoint, were deemed unnecessary.

At the third reading of the legislation Oct. 1, however, the ordinance failed for a lack of a second motion to approve after City Councilman Jeff Fix made a first motion to approve.

Prior to the motion, City Council heard concerns from several residents who said they were directly affected by the stop sign removals in the Meadows Boulevard area.

Rob Pieratt of Streamview Court, a cul-de-sac off Meadows Boulevard, said removal of the stop sign at that intersection presented a danger for the residents there.

"We've got young kids on our court," Pieratt said.

"I've got a 16-year-old," he said.

"(I am) concerned about the speed on Meadows Boulevard. (Stop signs) may not be 100-percent effective at getting people to stop, but I do believe they slow people down," Pieratt said.

Mike Nunamaker, also of Streamview Court, agreed with Pieratt.

"I've got a 9-year old, she rides a bike," Nunamaker said.

"My neighbor has a 2-year old grandson out there playing. I told the City Engineer that I am not sure what the upkeep is on a stop sign, (but) if it's not broke, don't fix it, in my opinion," said Numamaker.

In reviewing Pickerington's stop sign inventory, City Engineer Scott Tourville continued a process initiated by previous City Engineer Greg Bachman which recommended stop signs be removed based on engineering parameters.

Tourville recently cited voluminous data in the form of more than 70 technical engineering papers which indicate unnecessary stop signs do not slow cars down, but rather have the opposite effect in that they create a false sense of security and might actually increase speed.

He presented his findings to City Council's Safety Committee last June with a list of 26 intersections that initially were identified as being unnecessary multi-way stops.

That number was eventually whittled to nine by August and then, finally, seven multi-way stop signs were targeted for removal by the time of the ordinance's first reading Sept. 3.

"When we first started down this path, we found unwarranted stop signs cause more problems than do good," Fix said.

Tourville said the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices mandates "stop signs should not be used for speed control."

"There are better tools for speed control," he said.

City Manager Bill Vance asked Tourville what was the status of the stop bars on Meadows Boulevard.

Tourville replied stop bars are not required and can be an unnecessary maintenance headache.

"It's one less thing to maintain," Tourville said.

Mayor Lee Gray said he would rather refer the stop bar issue to City Council's Safety Committee.

"We shouldn't be arbitrary about it, either we do it or don't," Gray said.

As for the stop sign ordinance, once it came time for a second motion to approve, no one from City Council stepped forward, therefore it failed for lack of a second motion.

"The process worked," Nunamaker said.

"Scott (Tourville) is a good guy. He talked to the neighbors. He answered their questions.

"The city engineer was just doing his job," he said.

"Safety was our main concern," Pieratt said. "We just didn't feel it was really necessary."

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