Washington Evening Journal
https://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1691807

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 16, 2017

Stop lights changed to flashing on East Main

Sep 28, 2017

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL

 

After considering the removal of the stoplights at East Main Street and Second Avenue several times over the past 10 years, the Washington City Council Tuesday evening decided to set the lights to flashing yellow on the north and south directions, and red on the east and west directions.

The flashing, making the intersection a two-way stop, began Wednesday afternoon. The flashing is giving the city a chance to test the intersection as a two-way stop. Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said he believes making the intersection a two-way stop permanently will be the staff’s recommendation.

“The stop lights are very old,” Hinson said. “The conduit ... actually I don’t know if there is conduit underground. Essentially it would require the installation of all new wires underground. We can’t push anything through the conduit if it is in fact still physically there.”

Hinson said the reasons over the years for leaving the lights there was the Y day care needing to cross the street to the UP Church playground and the library formerly being located at the intersection. He said neither of these circumstances still exists.

The light was a timed stop light before being set to flash. Hinson said it is questionable if a stop light is even needed at the intersection.

During the meeting, water superintendent Chad McCleary said changing the lights over would take about five minutes. He said two wires needed to be changed to create the flashing. There are also temporary stop signs to notify motorists of the change in the signal.

Hinson said the city will try the flashing for a month and return to the council with a permanent recommendation. While the city does have a quote for the removal of the stop lights, which will require a council ordinance, the lights can also be shut off.

McCleary said shutting the lights off may create more confusion and it may be best to just leave them flashing.

“If we are going to do away with the stop lights it would probably be a spring project,” McCleary said.

The council decided it was best to leave the lights blinking for at least a month to determine how well the new system works. Council member Kathryn Salazar said it would probably be too late in the season to remove the lights before winter after the study is done.

McCleary also asked what would be put in the place of the stop lights if they were removed. Hinson said that needed to be discussed.

Hinson said the effectiveness of the change will be gauged by both what the police say and what input is gotten from the community.

Council member Kerry Janecek said he thought the road may be a school bus route.

He said the city should discuss the change with the school district.

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