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Tonawanda Council votes to reinstall 7 stop signs after outcry

After an outcry by residents, the City of Tonawanda Common Council decided Monday night to replace seven stop signs around the city that had been removed as a traffic-calming measure.

Residents again spoke out at a special Council meeting Monday, voicing concerns over safety for motorists, children and pedestrians and demanding that the signs be reinstalled.

“The Council listened to what the people wanted,” 2nd Ward Councilwoman Jackie A. Smilinich said Tuesday.

The Council voted to reinstate the stop signs in both directions on East Niagara Street at Douglas Street; on Fletcher Street at Bouck Street; on Fletcher Street at Franklin Street; on Fletcher Street at Kohler Street; on Lepeirs Avenue at Clarence Harder Drive; on Rogers Avenue at Clark Street; and on Tussing Lane at Sutley Court.

“Primarily it was what the Council felt should go back in,” Smilinich said. “We all had input into what should be replaced.”

On the recommendation of the city’s Traffic and Safety Advisory Board, the Council at its May 19 meeting agreed to remove 12 stop signs in the city’s Third Ward, setting off complaints and criticism directed at city officials.

Residents told the council that cars drive too fast on some city streets, and motorists have been confused by the sign removal, leading to numerous near-miss accidents.

City police Captain Fredric F. Foels has argued that stop signs are not a solution to speeding.

“Stop signs are not speed-control devices,” said Foels, who is also a member of the Traffic Board. “They’re not to enforce or regulate speed. That’s what police officers do.”

Studies show that traffic actually is calmed in areas where stop signs are removed by allowing drivers to proceed at a leisurely pace, rather than speeding up and slowing down to repeated signs, Foels said.

That has been the case at each of the other intersections where stop signs were removed in the city after traffic data from before and after the removal was compared, he said.

email: jpopiolkowski@buffnews.com