City will try four-way stops at two intersections instead of traffic signals

SALISBURY — Traffic signals at two downtown intersections soon will go dark, replaced temporarily with four-way stop signs for a 60-day evaluation.

City Council on Tuesday agreed to try four-way stops at Monroe and Ellis streets, as well as Horah and Ellis streets. City Engineer Wendy Brindle said many residents in the area support replacing the traffic signals with stop signs, and traffic volumes support the change.

However, the requested four-way stop signs at Monroe and Jackson streets, which residents have argued would slow drivers before they reach the accident-prone corner of Monroe and Fulton, did not go through.

Brindle said there are 10 times more cars on Monroe than Jackson, so a four-way stop at that intersection would not be appropriate. She also said there have been no accidents at the corner in three years.

In her review, Brindle said there was no indication that four-way stop signs at Monroe and Jackson would eliminate the many accidents a block later at Monroe and Fulton.

About once a month, cars collide at the troubled intersection, and no one can figure out why. The most recent wreck 10 days ago sent several people to the hospital, Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell said.

“I don’t think we are overreacting at all,” Blackwell said.

City Council last month agreed to install larger traffic signal lights at Monroe and Fulton in hopes of slowing down motorists. Duke Energy crews were working on the lines Tuesday, and Brindle said the 12-inch signal heads should be up and working soon.

During the 60-day evaluation period for the two new four-way stop intersections, drivers can leave their comments with Brindle at 704-638-5201. She will report back to City Council in two months.

If the city decides to remove the traffic signals permanently, Salisbury would save about $35,000 per intersection, Brindle said. Installing four-way stops costs about $500 per intersection, she said.

N.C. Department of Transportation will pay for the larger signals at Fulton and Monroe.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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