Stop signs considered

Above is the intersection of Westmoreland Avenue and Bales Road in Napoleon.

Stop signs likely will be going in at the intersection of Bales Road and Westmoreland Avenue, but the question is, soon or in three years?

The Napoleon Municipal Properties, Buildings, Land Use and Economic Development Committee Monday night recommended to council that stop signs be added to the intersection, but chose not to recommend whether the signs should be paid for by the city or made part of a Safe Routes to School grant.

City Manager Joel Mazur said the initial discussions on either flashing lighted stop signs at the three-way intersection or a traffic signal came about as part of the grant application discussions.

The stop sign would cost the city approximately $2,500, with the Henry County engineer adding another $2,000 for the county share of the portion since the area is split between the two entities.

“I have spoken to (Henry County Engineer) Tim Schumm and he is in favor of the project,” said Napoleon Public Works Director Chad Lulfs.

Mazur said there is also the possibility of a crosswalk being added near the intersection to connect the existing sidewalk system in the area that was recently installed.

“Going back to the Safe Routes to School plan, we’re connecting a lot of missing pieces here,” Mazur said.

He added traffic patterns in the area changed when the new elementary school was built, and that there are still many people who walk on nearby Jahns Road, despite its narrowness. A sidewalk was recently installed to help with that problem.

Mazur said during school drop-off and pick-up times, traffic heading south on Westmoreland can become very congested, leading to backups.

“I think it’s needed,” said Committee Chair Molly Knepley. “Especially adding in some crosswalks there.”

Mazur said it might be preferable to have the signs remain as part of the grant and be paid for that way, but Lulfs said that would mean waiting at least three years.

“At a certain point, how quick do we need to move on this, is the question right now,” Mazur said.

“If we move forward with this, all we have to do is order the stop signs,” added Lulfs.

Mayor Jason Maassel motioned that the committee recommend to council adding the stop signs. After Mazur asked a few times for clarification as to when the stop signs should be added, Maassel said that would be a decision for council as a whole to make. His recommendation was simply to add it to council’s agenda next week.

Maassel also asked about the possibility of installing a right-turn-only lane on Westmoreland at Woodlawn Avenue to help alleviate traffic problems on that end of the road.

Lulfs said it could be done, but likely would be expensive. He added he will be asking council to budget the resurfacing of Westmoreland in next year’s budget and could bring forth estimates to also add a turn lane for council to consider.

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I started at the Northwest Signal in 1994 and became editor in 2004. I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1994.

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