After hearing complaints about three intersections, the Smithfield Town Council on Tuesday decided to add stop signs at one intersection and leave the other two unchanged.
Police Chief Mike Scott told council members he had received complaints about all three intersections and wanted the council’s guidance on what to do.
At Wilson and Vermont Streets the intersection currently has a three-way stop sign. The intersection previously included a driveway to a pool which is no longer in operation. A citizen requested to remove the two stop signs on Wilson Street to allow traffic to proceed from Brightleaf Boulevard to the end of Wilson without stopping. Chief Scott said he was concerned by removing the stop signs, traffic may increase in speed on Wilson Street, a residential area. He also noted the intersection was not prone to accidents.
The second intersection was Woodall between Third and Fourth Streets. Traffic on Woodall Street currently runs uninhibited from Brightleaf to South Third. Chief Scott said there have been speeding complaints in the area and there have been 2 accidents in the past two years at Fourth and Woodall.
The third intersection was Chestnut and Maplewood Streets. Maplewood is considered the through street while Chestnut is an intersecting street dead ending into Maplewood. Currently one stop sign is at the intersection. A request was made by a citizen to move the stop sign from its present location to Chestnut Street, stopping traffic on Chestnut attempting to turn in either direction on Maplewood. Chief Scott called the intersection dangerous.
Mayor John Lampe said he remembered as a 15 year-old and taking drivers education training. His instructor slammed on the brakes so he wouldn’t drive through the stop sign at the intersection. He says he remembers that everytime he passed through.
Mayor Pro Tem Andy Moore said the stop sign has been that way for over 40 years and at one time there was a stop sign on Chestnut but it was removed after a few years because of complaints.
“If someone is use to something and there are no accidents, why change it?” Councilman Emery Ashley asked.
Town Manager Paul Sabiston said, “I’m telling you it’s a dangerous intersection.”
Following discussion, the council voted unanimously to leave the intersection at Wilson and Vermont Streets and Chestnut and Maplewood Streets unchanged. They did agree to add stop signs at Woodall and Fourth Streets to make it a 4-way stop intersection.