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Stop sign gets council's go-ahead
Stop sign gets council's go-ahead
By SUE REID
The installation of a stop sign on Spicebush Lane at Nightshade Lane was approved on a 4-3 vote by Solon City Council Monday following some debate.
Residents from the area appealed for the stop sign to City Council's safety and public properties committee recently, saying the intersection is unsafe due to speeders and its use as a cut-through between Liberty and SOM Center (Route 91) roads.
The Solon Police Department and the city's traffic engineer recommended that a stop sign is not warranted there.
A week-long speed survey was conducted by the police department for traffic approaching the intersection. Police Chief Christopher P. Viland said just two of the 5,603 vehicles clocked during that period were traveling at a rate of speed to warrant a citation. The speed limit is posted at 25 mph.
"We always suggest that stop signs are not an appropriate traffic management to eliminate speeding, but, in this case, there is not necessarily a speeding problem," he said.
Traffic Engineer Kevin Westbrooks suggested that, if council decided to go against his recommendation that a stop sign is unwarranted, it would be better to post the signs in both directions.
The ordinance approved authorizes the stop sign on Spicebush Lane westbound at the intersection Nightshade Lane.
Voting in favor were Councilmen Robert N. Pelunis, Richard A. Bell and Edward H. Kraus and Councilwoman Toni M. Richmond. Opposing it were Councilmen William I. Russo and William D. Mooney and Councilwoman Nancy Meany.
The installation was recommended by a vote of 2-1 of the safety committee with Mr. Russo opposing it and Mr. Kraus and Mr. Bell favoring it.
"I feel it's highly disrespectful to go against both the traffic engineer and especially the police chief, who happens to be a resident in that area as well," Mr. Russo said. "I think it's blatant pandering," he said.
"How do we determine who the experts are if there is more than one person who voices concern?" Mr. Russo asked.
Mr. Kraus said all requests for stop signs should be considered on a case-by-case basis. "Sometimes it's worthy of a stop sign, and sometimes it's not," he said.
"We are taking the resident as an expert yet don't follow our own experts," Mr. Russo said.
"It's disingenuous now, as the residents are not here to stand up for themselves," Mr. Kraus said. "It is our job to stand up for them."
Mrs. Meany said, "If you have experts telling you it's not needed," council should follow their recommendations. "I'd go with the experts. I'm not so sure this is all that warranted."
She said council at least should follow Mr. Westbrooks' secondary recommendation and put the sign in both directions.
"Obviously, you always value a traffic engineer for their expertise, but, in stop sign and local traffic issues regarding developments, residents are a great source of information," Mr. Kraus said.
Mr. Pelunis agreed that requests should be taken on a case-by-case basis. The traffic engineer does not live in the area and drive by it every day, he said. In addition, there is a school-bus stop there, he said.
"I always look at the cut-through traffic," Mr. Kraus said of decision in favor of the sign. "Cut-through traffic to me is always the defining factor. I look at if the situation is going to get better or worse," he said.
"More people are moving east, and there will be more that will want to cut through from Liberty to SOM to get to the schools and to get to the highways. There will be an increase in cut-through traffic," Mr. Kraus said.
"To me, having that sign there is just a message to people that cut through, saying, this is a residential area. We have people that walk, kids that get on and off the bus in the morning and afternoon, and, in our community, the top priority is the safety of the people who live in this area," Mr. Kraus said. "We have over the years done a really good job of strategically placing stop signs, because, in cut-through areas, it changes people's behavior."
"From the beginning, this has been handled poorly," Mr. Russo said.
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