Be Prepared to Stop

Pictured is the stop sign for northbound traffic on Church Street at East State Street installed Monday. The four-way stop was put in on a 90-day probationary period to see if it will improve safety at the intersection, and at Oltmann Funeral Home located south of the intersection.   

Motorists should be ready to stop at a downtown intersection, now that a four-way stop has been installed.

There is now a four-way stop at Church Street and East State Street for a 90-day probationary period. The signs were installed Monday, according to City Administrator Russell Rost.

The stop signs were added after Kevin Mooney and Keith Oltmann, both with Oltmann Funeral Home, approached Union aldermen last month.

The funeral home is located just south of the intersection.

“We want to see if this reduces the safety concerns at Oltmann Funeral Home,” said Rost.

Prior to Monday, there were stop signs for traffic on eastbound and westbound State Street only.

Last month, Mooney 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.

“We’re looking to determine if this will have an impact on the safety of pedestrians and the speed of traffic south on Church Street,” Rost told The Missourian.

He added that city officials agreed to the 90-day probationary period in August, but the signs weren’t erected until Monday so he would be in the office to field complaints.

Rost said that he, along with other city officials, were out of town last week attending a Missouri Municipal League conference.

“I wanted to be in town to record any complaints,” he said, “but so far it is going smoothly.”

“Whatever we see will be reported to board of aldermen,” Rost added.

In August, Police Chief Norman 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.

There are electronic signs on Church Street notifying drivers that there are stop signs ahead.

State Street Residents

Last month, 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.

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.