Stoplights will turn into stop signs in downtown Mt. Pleasant
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
See the traffic lights in Mt. Pleasant at the intersections of Madison and Jefferson streets, Monroe and Jefferson streets and Main and Jefferson streets?
Take a good look at them because they may be gone by the end of the year.
Mt. Pleasant City Council members, meeting in regular session Wednesday night, passed the first reading on a proposed ordinance establishing four-way stop intersections to replace the lights.
Council members have been mulling a change at the intersections for some time.
Working traffic lights were placed at the intersections when U.S. 218 formerly ran along the route through Mt. Pleasant. However, times have changed. U.S. 218 has moved to the east and city staff does not feel traffic at the intersections warrants stop lights.
While on the subject of traffic lights, city staff said that the traffic lights on Grand Avenue would be synchronized once the street is reconstructed. Currently, some of the intersections on Grand are four-way flashing light and others are working traffic lights (green, yellow and red).
Councilman Steve Engberg, however, urged caution on changing the stop light at Grand and Winfield from a four-way flashing light to a working traffic light. Engberg, an insurance agent, said he has “seen and paid for a lot of nasty accidents” at that intersection when it was a working traffic light.
“I think we really have to think about opening that back up because there were some horrendous accidents there,” Engberg said. City Police Chief Ron Archer concurred.
“I agree with Steve,” Archer said. “That intersection and the one at McDonald’s (Grand and Mapleleaf Drive) are safer now. We don’t have the accidents and they are not as severe as they were before.”
Council members said they would revisit the matter later. Reconstruction on North Grand Avenue (from the bridge north to James Avenue) is planned for next summer. Public hearing for the project is Nov. 28 and the bid letting will be in Ames Dec. 18.
Council members approved the temporary closing of Threshers Road between the two rail crossings. The Federal Railway Association (FRA) has instructed Old Threshers to make necessary changes to improve safety or they will fall under the association’s jurisdiction.
In a related item, council members set a public hearing for Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. to vacate the road right of way along Threshers Road.
The city’s governing body approved the release of TIF funds ($5,000) for the Main Street Program Exterior Grant to Complete EyeCare Center at 301 W. Monroe St. Complete EyeCare Center is nearly finished with a nearly $105,000 building renovation/expansion project.
Council members also took action to eliminate parking along Washington Street. The city was not aware that the existing ordinance does allow for parking along some stretches of Washington Street.
However, all parking was eliminated when the council passed the first reading of an ordinance banning parking and waived the second and third readings which makes the ordinance effective immediately.
In other agenda items, the council:
• Approved amending the fiscal 2013 budget. The amendment was needed to reflect income ($250,000) for the Jay Street sanitary sewer reconstruction project and expenditures of $606,000 to finish paying for the sanitary sewer inflow/infiltration study and the design of the Jay Street sewer project.
• Passed the third readings and adopted ordinances on animals. The first ordinance eliminates the requirement of dogs and cats to be licensed with the city; the second ordinance changes the “dogs running at large” offense from a municipal infraction to a simple misdemeanor. Penalties for the offense will follow state code.
Council members meet again in regular session Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.