Will the four-way stop at Church Street and State Street be a permanent fixture?
That is what a city committee is expected to determine next month before making a recommendation to aldermen.
In late September there was a four-way stop sign installed at Church Street and East State Street for a 90-day probationary period, which comes to an end next month.
Residents are invited to a meeting at city hall Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. to weigh in on the four-way stop intersection.
The stop signs were added after representatives from Oltmann Funeral Home approached Union aldermen requesting the sign to slow traffic in front of the business. The funeral home is located just south of the intersection.
“I am sure they are happy with it because we haven’t heard back from them,” said City Administrator Russell Rost.
He noted that when the signs were first installed, there were many residents who complained about the four-way stop. Rost said there have been no recent complaints.
“Traffic seems to have adjusted,” he said. “Early on there were many nay comments, and now we don’t seem to get any.”
Rost added that the stop sign is more noticeable to drivers southbound on Church Street, than northbound traffic.
Prior to Sept. 23, there were stop signs for traffic on eastbound and westbound State Street only.
Oltmann representatives 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.
Rost said a resident who lives in the area has stated that he has watched the intersection, and foot traffic to Oltmann’s does not cross at the intersection, but directly in front of the funeral home.
Police Chief Norman Brune said there were no drivers who ran through the stop sign in October while an officer was posted near the intersection. That is compared to late September, when an officer was stationed at the same location for six hours and saw 56 cars run through the stop sign. Those drivers were issued warnings.
“We haven’t had any accidents there because of the sign,” Brune said.
Alderman Karen Erwin asked if that roadway was a priority when plowing and treating streets for winter weather due to the incline as drivers approach the intersection while southbound.
Public Works Director Harold Lampkin said that is one of the first areas treated.
In August, Brune said there have been one, or possibly two, vehicle crashes at the intersection in the past 10 years.
He added that the new signs could create some safety hazards if drivers, who are not used to stopping at the intersection, don’t notice the signs.
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.
State Street Residents
Also in August, some East State Street residents spoke in favor of the four-way stop.
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.
Other area residents also spoke in favor of the four-way stop.