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Fowler stop signs to be evaluated July 14
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The Ceres City Council has scheduled a July 14 study session to focus on and evaluate the effectiveness of the controversial stop signs on Fowler Road at Lunar Drive.

At 5:30 p.m. the council will review a traffic study relating to the stops. The meeting will take place at the Ceres Community Center.

In April 2013, the council approved new stop signs for Fowler Road at Lunar Drive in answer to neighborhood concerns about speeding. Loudly protesting the installation of the stop signs were Sherri Jacobson and Rick Rushton, leaders of the group calling themselves "Citizens for Ceres" which is suing the city to halt the Walmart Supercenter project. The pair brought in attorney Brett Jolley to fight the stop signs. Jolley stated that his clients desired safety but stated road conditions did "not meet the threshold to require a stop sign." He cited studies saying stop signs are unwarranted at control speeds 150 feet from an intersection. Jolley said motorists tend to disregard unwarranted stop signs and thus give crossing pedestrians a false sense of security.

Jolley also suggested that the city needed to do an environmental impact study before the stop signs could be approved to which Mayor Chris Vierra, an engineer by trade, balked. Jolley predicted that the stop signs would "have noise, traffic, and safety impacts which have not yet been evaluated or mitigated by the city as required by state law."

The council determined at a Feb. 25, 2013 Study Session that the city had few options available to slow down traffic on the street, which carries 5,000 trips per day, many of which are transporting children to and from Sam Vaughn Elementary School and Mae Hensley Junior High School. The street segment, which runs from Rite Aid on Mitchell Road to Marie Neil Park on Boothe Road, is a primary collector street slicing through a residential area. The street serves as a main route to link Mitchell Road with Eastgate, a major east side housing development.

Not all city leaders felt the stop signs were warranted, including Mayor Chris Vierra and then City Engineer Toby Wells. In March 2013, Wells recommended against installing stop signs on Fowler Road. According to a staff report, "a sufficient number of warrant conditions have not been met to justify installation of the stop signs on Fowler Road."

When voting for the stop signs Councilmember Ken Lane said he wanted to see how well they work after a year's time. He also suggests adding driver feedback signs.

City officials met with the neighborhood in late 2012 and heard of concerns about fast vehicles and launched an enforcement campaign. Police issued 52 traffic citations during a 40-day period, with all cited drivers traveling at least 10 mph faster than the 25mph speed limit.