A request by Leanna Perkins for a four-way stop at the intersection of Third Street and Northwest Bridge Street was discussed at length by the John Day City Council at their April 10 meeting.
The proposal was not new. Both Public Works Director Monte Legg and Councilor Dave Holland, the former public works director, were familiar with the idea.
Perkins reported seeing several near-accidents at the intersection. In one case, a teenager on a bicycle was struck by a car, but the incident was not reported. She also said Police Chief Richard Gray put an electronic radar speed sign at the intersection, but she wasn’t sure if it made a difference.
Perkins said the problem becomes worse during baseball season, when she typically sees more vehicles speeding on Northwest Bridge Street. She said she’s seen people jumping onto the curb to avoid being hit.
Holland said he didn’t think a four-way stop would address the issue and noted that the council opposed a four-way stop there in the past. Stop signs provide a “false sense of security,” and bicyclists often ignore stop signs, he said. He also noted that the city was laid out with north-south through-streets and stop signs on east-west streets.
Holland asked if the council wanted to “chop up” the city with stop signs. Speeding is a problem all over town, he said, suggesting that the problem could be addressed through social media. He also said he expected more accidents would occur if a four-way stop was put in place at the intersection.
Councilor Paul Smith agreed that speed was the real issue, and Councilor Shannon Adair suggested that stop signs would slow vehicles down. Councilor Steve Schuette, however, noted that vehicles would get back up to full speed within a short distance after stopping at a stop sign.
John Day resident Beth Spell said she was familiar with the intersection and felt the neighborhood had changed. The safety of children and pedestrians was important, she said, and if the city did not install a four-way stop, then it should consider installing speed bumps.
Councilor Gregg Haberly said he supported using speed bumps, and Perkins said she would be happy with that. Mayor Ron Lundbom recommended that the matter be brought to the city’s safety committee, which is composed of three councilors.