BAXTER -- A request for a four-way stop had Baxter City Council members debating road use tension between through traffic and neighborhood concerns Monday night.
After debate regarding waiting to place the stop signs until a traffic study is completed in a month, the council approved the placement of two four-way stop signs -- one at the Excelsior and Inglewood roads intersection and the other at the Clearwater and Inglewood roads intersection. The council made the approval contingent upon getting Crow Wing County approval for the stop signs on the county road.
Drivers will also see a warning sign announcing the stop is approaching.
Baxter Public Works Director Trevor Walter said the city's comprehensive plan calls for Inglewood to be a main city traffic route, considered an arterial route that promotes through traffic. Walter said it is the highest classification for a city street and four-way stops do not fit that designation and are used when all four roads coming into the intersection have equal traffic. Typically a study is done to determine if roads meet criteria for stop signs or signals.
Walter said he realized the neighborhood did not want that designation and wanted a less traveled neighborhood road.
Walter said if the road is not arterial, it should probably not connect to Highway 210. And Walter said the traffic engineer should look at the road. City Administrator Larry Kruse said for years he has heard that stop signs should not be used to control traffic speed.
Council member Mary Marana suggested waiting for the traffic study expected in mid-July. Marana said the speed issues are more of an enforcement issue.
Council member Mark Cross said he did not think the road should be an arterial route and the traffic study may look at the comprehensive plan. Cross said the need is to get the high traffic counts out of that neighborhood and he was in favor of stop signs and revisiting the comprehensive plan.
Council member Darrel Olson said putting the signs in now did not preclude the city from removing them if they found they made a mistake. Olson said the road may have 5,000 cars a day but he did not see bunching was an issue with a stop sign.
Mayor Gary Muehlhausen said he would rather err on the side of safety.
The city is splitting the cost of traffic study with the Brainerd School District. The Benshoof Traffic Engineering Study is $12,000 with a 60/40 split with the school district. Cost for the city share is expected to be $4,800. The study is looking at traffic flows for the area around the school and for the city as a whole.
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