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Vine Street stop signs will remain in place

The Hudson City Council voted 4-2 to retain the Vine Street stop signs at Third and Fourth streets after listening to neighborhood residents say how important the signs are to them.

The vote at the council's Feb. 20 meeting may finally put to rest the issue of whether the stop signs are needed.

The debate started about five years ago when the Third and Vine intersection was made a four-way stop at the urging of members of First Baptist Church and some residents living nearby.

The Vine Street stop signs at Fourth Street were taken out at the same time, but were quickly put back in place when neighborhood residents who use that intersection complained.

In the summer of 2006, stop signs were added to Vine Street at Diamond Drive after a 12-year-old girl was struck by a car while crossing Vine on her way home from St. Croix Valley YMCA.

Motorists complained about traffic backups at those signs, and they were replaced with a pedestrian crossing flag system in the spring of 2007.

Alderman Paul Radermacher, chairman of the Public Safety Commission, revived the issue of the Vine Street stop signs at Third and Fourth streets a few months ago, saying they could be replaced with crossing flag systems like the one at Diamond Drive.

The Public Safety Committee subsequently recommended installing crossing flag systems at Third and Fourth by a 2-1 vote.

That set up the Feb. 20 City Council meeting in which nine neighborhood residents argued for the stop signs to remain in place for safety reasons.

The Rev. Randy Fredrikson, pastor at First Baptist Church, also delivered a petition that he said was signed by 72 church members and neighborhood residents who wanted the intersections to remain four-way stops.

Others who spoke for retaining the signs were Dawnlynn Greeney, Tom Smith, Jim Trussel, Patt Colten, Scott James, Frank Rhoades, Matt Ramberg and Sue Gherty.

Most of them expressed concern about pedestrians crossing the busy street without stop signs. Some said the intersections also would be more dangerous for motorists without the signs.

"It's just not worth the risk to take them out," said Colten.

Alderman Lee Wyland, the only member of the Public Safety Committee that voted against the recommendation to remove the signs, said, "I'm not interested in convenience. I'm interested in safety."

Public Safety Committee member Randy Morrissette II changed his position on the issue after listening to the public input and joined aldermen Wyland, Scot O'Malley and Dennis O'Connell in voting to retain the signs.

Aldermen Radermacher and Alan Burchill voted for their removal.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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