Delbrugge Cries Foul Over Removal of Stop Signs

Wheeling Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge wants to put the brakes on a Thursday recommendation by the city’s Traffic Commission to remove stop signs at three intersections on Richland Avenue in Warwood.

Commission members voted 3-1 to remove stop signs at the street’s intersections with North Fourth and North Sixth streets, and voted unanimously to remove the one at Osage Lane. Members Chuck Delbrugge, Pat Duffy and Ronald King voted to remove all three, while Chris Hamm opposed removing all but the Osage Lane sign. H. Lawrence Jones was absent.

The decision drew sharp criticism from Gloria Delbrugge, who represents the Warwood area on council.

She believes removal of the signs would endanger children walking to and from school and area playgrounds, and plans to oppose the measure when it comes before City Council for final approval.

“I think it’s a big mistake and I think we’re going to be sorry. … Why in God’s name would we take out any of those stop signs?” she said.

Prior to the vote, City Operations Superintendent Tim Birch shared the results of a traffic study performed in response to North 19th Street resident Tom Dailer’s request that the Traffic Commission look into whether there are an excessive number of stop signs on Richland Avenue.

There are eight in a slightly longer than one-mile stretch between North Third and North 19th streets.

Traffic counters placed at three locations along the street registered vehicles traveling at average speeds of 20, 21 and 23 mph, Birch said. The speed limit on Richland Avenue is 25 mph.

Despite the low average speeds, the report found about 60 vehicles that traveled at speeds of at least 40 mph, including a few that topped 70 mph – a fact Hamm found alarming.

“It only takes one speeding car to hurt somebody,” Hamm said.

Birch said he agrees, but suggested that stop signs can create a “false sense of security” for pedestrians and cyclists who assume motorists are going to obey the signs.

“That’s one thing we need to teach our children, that just because a stop sign’s there doesn’t mean they’re going to stop,” Birch said.

In other business, the commission approved three requests for handicapped parking spaces by Charles Gilson of 505 Wagner St., Veda Noland of 223 Jefferson Ave. and J.R. Green of 2227 Jacob St. They tabled another because the applicant, Gail Kish of 101 N. 18th St., was not present and commission members had questions concerning the request.