Council turns down Reed Street stop sign changes

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The people spoke and the stop signs are staying on Reed Street.

Responding to overwhelming opposition from neighborhood residents, including more than a dozen at a public hearing, the City Council Tuesday voted down a proposal to switch stop signs on Reed at Selma Street and Mead Avenue from Reed to the side streets.

“The proposal is a solution to a problem that does not exist. To my mind, the stop signs have to stay right where they’re at,” Alderman David Williams stated.

The council passed the ordinance unanimously, changing the wording to leave the stop signs on eastbound and westbound Reed Street at both intersections.

That action came after City Administrator Brian Yerges pointed out that investigation determined the existing signs are not actually listed in the city code that delineates where stop signs are to be located.

Council President Charles Hansen, who originally proposed the stop sign change at Reed and Selma – but not at Reed and Mead – allowed that the show of opposition, including a petition presented to the council and a number of emails on the issue had changed his mind.

Hansen explained he had originally been contacted by a constituent seeking to have the stop signs at Reed and Mead removed as Mead Street is no longer used for emergency vehicles or hospital access.

“That sounded like a good idea, so I took it to the (Public) Safety Committee,” Hansen noted. That committee added the second intersection in its recommendation to the council.

But, Hansen went on, contact he had from residents living at or near the intersections were more in opposition than in support and, “The persons who were in favor were not as passionate as the people opposed.”

That passion was expressed by nine different residents who spoke at the public hearing before the council, among more than a dozen residents who attended the hearing.

“The traffic that goes through there is at much too high a speed as it is,” Julia Van Norwick stated.

“Traffic is already fast enough on Reed Street,” Shelly Allmann agreed.

“This is a residential area. I believe traffic should be moderated so it doesn’t become a thoroughfare,” said Faye Hughes, who lives at the corner of Mead and Reed.

“If that extra 10 or 15 seconds means something to someone, then I regret their lifestyle,” Bill Anton said of the removal of the stop signs on Reed Street.

Reed Street resident Darryl Peters told the council, “I’ve lived there 18 years and there’s only been one accident there. I also see a lot of cars that don’t stop for the stop signs,” and removing the stop signs would just make that worse, he predicted.

Police Chief Jeffrey Tauscheck confirmed that there have been no accidents reported to his department at either of the intersections in the last five years.

“The speed and safety of our residential streets should be your first consideration,” David Klecka stated. “Small children and elderly are located along those streets and traffic is already much too fast.”

“It would be very frightening for me to let my children out of the house,” without the stop signs to control traffic, Scott Milslagle commented.

“Reed Street is already kind of busy, more busy than I’d like,” Meredith Herrera added. “The overwhelming feeling of those who live around me is that they do not want this change.”

Williams praised those present and those who contacted the council about the proposal for their concern and involvement.

“I was very grateful to get this information,” he told the audience. “You let us know what the citizens want. It’s what I wish would happen more often.”

In other action, the council approved a preliminary resolution for $5.5 million in industrial revenue bonds for Plymouth Foam.

The bonds – which are not an obligation of the city – will help finance a 121,000-square foot addition at the firm’s Sunset Drive plant, City Attorney Crystal Fieber told the council.

The bonds will be repaid by Plymouth Foam and not by the city, she added. Utilizing industrial revenue bonds allows Plymouth Foam to get a better interest rate, something the city has done numerous times in the past for other industries and businesses, Fieber continued.

The council confirmed Mayor Donald Pohlman’s appointment of Carole O’Malley as an alternate on the Board of Review.

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