An idea that would have seen stop signs installed along North Main Street in Hannibal was stopped dead in its tracks by the city’s Traffic Committee on Thursday morning.
Up for consideration was a proposal that would have seen four-way stops created where it North Main intersects Bird and Center streets, and three-way stops where Main meets North and Hill streets. Currently there are no stop signs on North Main Street between Broadway and North Street.
Mark Rees, director of public works, championed the idea, suggesting it would make the thoroughfare safer. However, according to Police Department accident data, the street already sees few mishaps.
According to Lt. John Zerbonia of HPD, in the past five years North Main has seen just 10 traffic accidents. He added that 70 percent of those mishaps involved parked cars. Three of the crashes happened when a vehicle stopped at a side street stop sign pulled out in front of an oncoming vehicle.
“It’s not a safety issue,” said Zerbonia of North Main.
Zerbonia speculated that adding stop signs on North Main would create more “stop-and-go” traffic.
“You’d be changing the traffic pattern,” he said. “It would lead to more congestion and the potential for accidents.”
City Manager Jeff LaGarce pointed out that when parking slots were painted onto the street’s new asphalt surface, some slots near intersection corners were eliminated, creating better line of sight for motorists on side streets.
Also mentioned by LaGarce was the fact that new, decorative crosswalks have yet to be installed along North Main as part of the downtown improvement project.
“Those will also help safety,” said the city manager.
North Main does not pose a great threat for pedestrians. Over the last half decade police have worked only one accident in which someone on foot was struck by a vehicle.
Considering what has been done, and what remains to be done on North Main, LaGarce does not favor adding stop signs.
“I’m reluctant to make such a change before we complete the (Main Street) project,” he said. “Installing stop signs would be premature.”