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Citizen protests pulling stop signs on Central Avenue
Traffic patterns have changed
Stop sign
City officials are mulling the removal of the stop signs on Central Avenue at Magnolia Street and at El Camino Ave. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The city has been considering removal of two stop signs on Central Avenue as the result of changes to vehicular traffic from the recent Whitmore interchange but at least one resident is not having it.

"Sounds like it's already a done deal that you're going to take away the Central stop sign so whatever concerns and two cents that I have to say about it is not of interest to you at this point in time," an emotional Shirley Conner, a resident on Magnolia Street, told the City Council on Monday.

"It's never a done deal," said Mayor Chris Vierra, who added that he hadn't even heard about plans to remove stop signs.

City Manager Toby Wells stepped in and noted that when the interchange was completed in 2011 that traffic patterns changed. He said there are no longer the warrants required to justify a four-way stop at Central Avenue and Magnolia Street based on traffic volume. Wells explained that residents in the area have been notified to get their input.

Conner interrupted Wells and said, "No, this letter says it's going to happen in days."

Wells set her straight, saying: "It's been studied. We're looking for input from the citizens and obviously if nobody had a problem with it we would be moving forward. You coming forward - indicating that you have some issues with it - and of course we're obviously going to slow down the process, study it a little further, see if there's other things that can mitigate the concerns."

He explained that drivers are cutting through the Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot to access southbound El Camino Avenue and to the southbound Highway 99 onramp as a way of avoiding the stop signs at Central and Magnolia and Central and El Camino.

"The two stop signs on Central, especially at peak hours, are backing up."

Removal of the two stop signs would be the easiest way to increase traffic flow without impacting the neighborhood, he said. Wells said if the council didn't want to remove the signs "we won't."

Wells bristled at the suggestion that stop signs be added to thwart the KFC short-cut takers, saying "we can't add stop signs for traffic control."

"The more people recognize a stop sign is not needed, every time somebody comes up to a stop sign and sees they don't have to stop because there's no cross traffic, they run it. The longer you have a stop sign that's not warranted, the more people just ignore it."