John Howell’s column 8-3-12

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 3, 2012

Coming soon to intersection where least expected: rolling stop signs

We are fortunate in Batesville to live in such a city of good abode, prosperity and promise that the only problem left to really get lathered up about seems to be the placement of stop signs.

I’m not sure when it started, but as far back as 2007, we were writing about the intersection of Court and Bates Street that had been designated as a four-way stop; then returned to a two-way stop before becoming once again the four-way stop intersection that it remains today.

It seems that the residents of the street who lived closest to the intersection wanted a four-way stop while those more distant wanted Bates as a through street.

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Then-Police Chief Gerald Legge remarked during that memorable meeting, “Maybe we need to put up some ‘stop-if-you-want-to’ signs.”

He retired shortly afterwards.

Then-assistant City Attorney Parker Still, who also served at that memorable 2007 meeting, is thought to have immediately afterwards hatched his plans to leave private practice altogether and apply to the F.B.I.

Then there was the three-way stop created at the intersection of Bruce and Marie Streets. After citizen protests became louder than citizen support, Bruce was returned to its status as a through street.

There was a speed bump of a size and height suited for monster trucks that ended up on Lomax Street in front of the Billingsleys’ house. Mr. Billingsley liked the idea. Mrs. Billingsley did not. That speed bump is now a memory fast becoming distant.

Lately, differing opinions about the three-way stop established at the intersection of Allen and East Streets has created discord in the usually harmonious neighborhood.

Betty McMillan states her opinion in a letter published on the facing page. It is not the volume of traffic that warrants all-way stops, she said. It’s breaking the speed of traffic on through streets.

And we’ve been promised at least one letter for Tuesday’s edition that will state the opposite view.

Then there’s Mrs. Mary Keating who visited the July 17 meeting of the mayor and aldermen to state her objections to creation of a three-way stop at Country Club Road and Oak Lane.

The city officials thanked her, mumbled something like, “We’ll take it under advisement.”

Who would have thought, after aldermen on July 3 voted unanimously to change the Country Club Road/Oak Lane intersection into a three-way stop, that two weeks after Mrs. Keating’s visit the stop signs on Country Club Road would be removed without vote or further ado?

We understand that the matter is ripe for discussion at next Tuesday’s meeting of the mayor and aldermen.
Also due for consideration at next Tuesday’s meeting:

Rolling Stop signs. In an effort to keep Batesville drivers on their toes, aldermen are considering the placement of temporary stop signs at unannounced locations, higgly-piggly around town.

The thought is that drivers will have to remain alert at all times to make sure they don’t drive through an intersection where a stop sign has suddenly appeared that was not there yesterday! And tomorrow, it will have been moved to another location!

How great an idea is that? Can you imagine how much better drivers we will become in Batesville when we discover that stop signs are never in the same place twice.

And try talking or texting while you’re driving and keeping an eye open for an unexpected stop sign. I feel sure that soon auto insurance rates for Batesville drivers will  going down in response to the alertness of our drivers.

I did make part of this up. If you can’t figure which part, the mayor and board meet Tuesday at 2 p.m.