By Bob Balgemann


The intersection of 4th and Caswell Streets didn’t meet the criteria for installation of a four-way stop. It lacked traffic volume and there weren’t enough crashes, according to a study.

However, the city’s committee of the whole voted 8-0 Aug. 22 to recommend that residents’ request be approved. City council is expected to consider the recommendation at Tuesday night’s meeting.

There currently are no stop signs at that intersection, with traffic on 4th Street yielding to that on Caswell.

Mayor Mike Chamberlain said he had listened to similar requests for other intersections, over 12 years on the city council, and initially sided with law enforcement. Now, his thinking is in line with the importance of residents having peace of mind in their neighborhoods, and he encouraged the committee to recommend approval of the change.

Public Works Director Brent Anderson reiterated his belief that stop signs are not a speed control device. Their purpose is to control an intersection along with traffic movements.

“Speed is an enforcement issue,” he said, adding that the post speed limit on both 4th and Caswell is 25 mph. “From a public works standpoint, if we continue to put them [stop signs] up where they’re not warranted, we will have them on every corner. Then, we will have residents on the opposite side.”

Further, he said the city has undergone two sign audits from the Illinois Department of Transportation during his years with the city. Both times “we were required to take stop signs down.”

The study done by the city of that intersection showed two crashes occurring over the past five years.

However, resident J.J. Elliott, who lives at that location, argued there had been many undocumented accidents and plenty of near misses during that time period, and the speeding that goes on there is a real problem.

“Neighbors have resorted to throwing things at them and yelling at them,” she said, referring to speeding vehicles.

The city police department did put a speed trailer out there for about two weeks, she recalled. That was a peaceful time for residents because motorists saw the trailer and slowed down. However, the reprieve only was temporary.

Most of the time, the speeding occurs while people are going to and from work. While that intersection is near Belvidere High School, it’s not the students who are the primary culprits, she explained.

“Neighbors and I would be glad to buy the stop signs,” Elliott said while urging the committee to support their request. Quite a few residents of that area, who also wanted the added speed deterrent, were in the back of the meeting room at city hall that night.

Committee members agreed with those residents.

“I think we should pass this and have four stop signs put up there,” Alderman Ron Brooks, a retired state trooper, said.

Alderman Clint Morris said he understood what residents were talking about. He referred to motorists speeding in that area to avoid being delayed by downtown trains.

“I think we should err on the side of safety,” he said.

If stop signs aren’t to be used to slow speeders, Alderman Dan Snow asked what the preferred method would be. He mentioned restructuring streets to make them narrower, forcing people to slow down.

Alderman Mark Sanderson said there are no stop signs for six blocks on this street and it is “kind of wide. I don’t want to wait for another accident.”

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.