The intersection of Church Street and East State Street will soon be a four-way stop, at least for a trial period.
Members of the Union Parks, Building Development and Public Service Committee Monday night gave the nod for city staff to install stop signs at the intersection for 90 days.
During that time, the impact on traffic and safety will be studied. There now are stop signs for traffic on eastbound and westbound State Street.
The decision was handed down following the request of Kevin Mooney, with Oltmann Funeral Home, which is located just south of the intersection.
He said there are safety issues that affect the intersection, including pedestrians, a school bus stop and poor sight visibility due to a steep hill while southbound on Church Street.
Southbound Church Street shifts to the east while traveling, which limits the sight from motorists traveling west on State Street.
Mooney added that he has watched two women walking in that area nearly be struck while crossing Church Street by speeding vehicles traveling through the intersection.
“They have to walk across very quickly,” he said. “I find it a safety issue — I don’t know what a stop sign there would really hurt.”
Police Chief Norman Brune said there have been one, or possibly two, vehicle crashes at the intersection in the past 10 years.
“Whenever you could control traffic, you base that decision on overall safety,” he said.
Brune offered an example of the Highway 47 and East Main Street intersection where there had been a few accidents until a traffic light was installed.
“There were very, very few accidents,” he said, “but since the lights have been installed, there have been many accidents with injuries.”
Brune noted that he is not making a recommendation for or against a stop sign at the location.
“People rely on traffic control so much that they don’t pay as much attention to oncoming traffic,” he said.
Mooney then stated that posting a police vehicle at the Church Street and East State Street intersection to deter speeding would be a “band-aid,” but would not solve the safety issue.
“People speed, but they also run stop signs,” Brune said.
“We’ll see if common sense prevails,” remarked Mooney.
State Street Residents
One resident said she has to “ease” her vehicle into the roadway before turning onto Church Street.
She added that the future site of Frick’s Market, located at Central Avenue and Church Street, will create more traffic all along Church Street.
Phil Sheppard, who has lived on State Street for 25 years, said traffic increased on East State Street since construction of Main Street in downtown Union.
“When they closed Main Street it made East State a thoroughfare,” he said.
Tom Stahlman said he has lived on East State Street for 27 years, and has both walked and driven to work at public schools and Immaculate Conception Grade School.
“You’ve only got a couple of seconds to get across that street,” he said. “Once you start, you better go — you can’t see cars.
“Once you are two to three steps in the street, you’ve got to run or they have to stop,” Stahlman added.