Square gets four way stops all around

Traffic at some intersections around the square will have to start slowing down to stop.
The Richmond City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to convert two intersections on the square to four way stop signs. The addition of the stop signs will make all four intersections on the square four way stops. Traffic that will be affected will be north and southbound travelers on College and Thornton streets at North Main Street.
The issue has been discussed for a couple of months, but no action had been taken. At first, councilmen wanted to table the issue until some concerned residents pressed the matter.
Resident Cleatus Burnine told the council that they shouldn’t wait on making a decision.
“Don’t wait too long because somebody’s going to get it there,” Burnine said.
He said several times he has had a close call while trying to creep out to see if traffic is clear, bringing up another safety issue around the square.
Councilwoman Terrie Stanley said they were compelled to table the issue because of the lack of no parking yellow paint not being included in the painting of the square.
Councilman Bob Bond said he has not seen any real issue with safety at North Main and College.
Councilman Jim Dunwoodie asked if the signs could be placed in a viewable area. Burnine said the stop signs used to be elevated.
In a related matter, the City Council has called for a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on June 30 to discuss the removal of the stoplights at east Main Street and Institute.
Police Chief Terri McWilliams brought the issue to the council a few months ago because some residents that were interested in seeing it removed had approached her. She said she spoke with Donnie Fowler who operates the school district’s bus service and he said he would have no problems with removing the lights.
However, some residents voiced opposition to the plan. Middle school teacher Hal Middleton said the light was installed sometime in the 1960s because his sister was badly injured.
“So far I haven’t heard a good reason to take it out,” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Wright commented.
In addition to a discussion about the traffic light, the council will also hold a public hearing to discuss the possible closure of Cates Street near Maurice Roberts Park.
In other action:
• Several new business ordinances were sent back to the ordinance committee. Committee Chairman Roger Kepple said the Ordinance Committee should review new ordinances before they are presented to the council.
City Administrator Rick Childers said he was never instructed to bring ordinances back to the Ordinance Committee.
The debate was sparked because a couple of the ordinances caused public concern. Kepple said in particular the ordinance addressing the elimination of police personnel board, an ordinance addressing grant applications and an ordinance eliminating any elected official from serving on an appointed board.
• The council approved an ordinance waiving the requirement for four-inch numbering for house addresses. The new regulation requires numbering to be at least three inches.
• The Council approved the extension of the city’s trash contract for three years. Services will not change but a slight increase was added. The council did not clarify whether the cost would be absorbed by the city.
• Childers reported that he has spoken with a vendor that can provide video streaming services for the city. The vendor said City Council meetings could be broadcast over Channel 6 or the city’s Web site. He said the cost would be $8,000 to $12,000. The council decided to revisit the issue during the next budget.
• In addition the City Council will discuss a proposal to consolidate dispatching services with Ray County 911 on June 30 at the public hearing.
• The council packet included a timeline of events surrounding the city’s financial audit. The report says the audit will be presented at the city’s June 23 meeting.

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