LaHarpe to add stop signs in town

Motorists traveling through LaHarpe will have a few more stops along their route.

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December 10, 2020 - 9:13 AM

LAHARPE — Motorists traveling through LaHarpe will have a few more stops along their route.

LaHarpe City Council members took their latest steps to control the speed of traffic along certain roads, particularly Harrison and Jefferson streets, which run parallel to Main Street on the east side of town.

Six new stop signs will be added in all, along Harrison Street at Fourth and Eighth streets; along Jefferson Street and Eighth Street; and at opposite ends of the driveway that dissects the LaHarpe City Park between Sixth and Seventh streets.

Council members noted the Harrison-Fourth Street intersection already has stop signs for the east-west drivers. Those signs will simply be repositioned for the north-south drivers on Harrison.

The traffic flow saga has been an ongoing issue for years, with the Council adding several stop signs in town in late 2018, only to remove them a few months later after several complaints. (And even then, a handful were put back up after more residents near City Hall complained traffic was going too fast.)

A decision earlier this year to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph along all residential areas was subsequently reversed after City Attorney Fred Works noted the city was required to do traffic flow studies prior to such a radical change.

Afterward, Council members asked Code Enforcement Officer Penny Miller and former police chief Mike Jewell to point out intersections considered traffic hazards.

Miller and Jewell singled out 26 spots, too many for the Council’s comfort.

That led to Wednesday’s compromise, but it was not unanimous.

Councilman Austin Lee questioned whether any new stop signs were needed. He was the only Council member to vote against the six.

Likewise Ray Maloney of Ray’s Metal wondered who would enforce the stop sign enforcement, now that Jewell has left his post. He offered a tongue-in-cheek analogy to the question of whether a tree falling in a forest makes a noise if nobody is around to hear it.

“If somebody runs a stop sign, and nobody sees it, did he really run a stop sign?” Maloney asked, drawing a chuckle.

Mayor Mae Crowell noted Allen County sheriff’s deputies have stepped up their presence around town, and the city will likely hire a new police chief in short order.

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