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Elmhurst City Council split over stop signs

ELMHURST – Even as the City Council approved a resident request for two yield signs where Barclay Court and South Cedar Avenue meet Madison Street in the north and south directions with a 12 to 2 vote, another request for stop signs split the council more closely.

"I think that most of the time, you have to listen to the residents in order to make a clear decision," said Seventh Ward Alderman Patrick Wagner, who also serves as chairman of the Public Affairs and Safety Committee.

Wagner said he was for installing a four-way stop sign at the intersection.

His opinion ultimately won, even though the city's engineering division and traffic consultant both studied the intersection and neither determined that it warranted a four-way stop.

Six of the fourteen aldermen disagreed with the city installing a four-way stop, and said the council should adhere to federal guidelines provided in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, as well as the reccommendations of city staff.

"We have a perception problem," said First Ward Alderman Diane Gutenkauf citing a research paper published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers that suggested multi-way stop signs do not work as speed control devices.

Fourth Ward Alderman Kevin York referenced an April traffic study that he believed showed how Adelia Street is used as an alternate route to St. Charles Road from York Street to South Poplar Avenue during the school year.

Seventh Ward Alderman Mark Mulliner explained that the city is required to follow state and federal guides for traffic control.

"The reason that we've done that is to prevent some of that emotion from getting involved in these decisions," said Mulliner.

However, he ended up supporting the installation of a four-way stop after York referenced the traffic study done during the school year.

Some aldermen said they would support a two-way stop, which was reccommended by city staff, on Chandler Avenue in place of the existing yield signs.

First Ward Alderman Marti Deuter worried about the safety of pedestrians, especially children, should drivers roll through unwarranted stop signs.

"I have no doubt that we all want the same thing," said Deuter. "We all want our streets to be as safe as possible."

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