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SAFETY AT ISSUE AS RESIDENTS PUSH FOR PROSPECT-QUEEN STOP SIGN

Aldermen on Tuesday night considered a request for a stop sign on Prospect Street at Queen Street by two neighborhood families worried about the speeding there and the fact that the location has been the site of six accidents in four years.

Neighbors said they fear a rash of such accidents, along with danger to children and pedestrians.

The four Prospect residents said drivers on Queen are unable to see vehicles approaching the intersection on Prospect because of a row of evergreens near the corner. Northbound vehicles stop on Prospect where it intersects with Alder Street, then continue north past Queen and up the hill to King Street, where there is a second stop sign, the residents said.

Dick Wing, one of the residents, said that in February 1998, a vehicle on Queen crossed Prospect and rear-ended the automobile in which he, his wife and their child were riding traveling but that no one was injured.

He also recalled that a new city police patrol car was extensively damaged when it rolled over in the same area. Wing's neighbor Katy Redden handed out photos of accidents and the conditions on the street, stating that no one was hurt when a car overturned in her yard just before Christmas.

Redden said some of the residents object to placing a stop sign at Prospect and Queen because the hilly terrain would make it difficult to complete the climb on Prospect to King when roads are slippery. But traffic must stop anyway at the King intersection near the crest of the hill, she said.

Redden also suggested alternatives to a new stop sign, such as a three-way stop or an advisory sign stating that traffic moving in one direction is not required to stop.

"Something should seriously be done before somebody gets injured," said Wing.

The residents and some city officials at the meeting recalled that a former stop sign at Prospect and Queen was moved to the corner of Alder about the time a church was built on the corner of Queen, but nobody remembered why.

Public Works Director Peter Marcus told the two couples that under Federal Highway Administration guidelines, Prospect is designated in a higher-use category than Queen and could qualify for a stop sign because of unusual conditions, including a power pole that also obstructs views. He warned that stop signs create some liability for the city besides being costly and requiring replacement and maintenance.

Police Chief Brian Donnelly advised aldermen that he has mixed feelings about the issue, stating that drivers in some of the accidents have failed to yield and that others have simply failed to stop.

Alderwoman Kathy Searles invited the residents to return at 6 p.m. Feb. 8 to discuss the matter in more depth with Ward 2 Alderwoman Joyce Melfi, who was not present Tuesday night.

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