Franklin City Council Tables Stop Sign Bills

| October 8, 2019

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – The City of Franklin Council elected to table four stop sign placement bills after a number of City residents, including a former council member, addressed the City about the proposed stop signs.

The City is considering putting stop signs southbound at 9th and Elk Streets, 11th and Elk Streets and 14th and Elk Streets and in both directions at 14th and Elk Streets.

There was some thought that the stop sign placement would help slow down traffic, but former council member Jim Marshall told the Council that the Commonwealth doesn’t allow stop signs to be placed for the purpose of slowing people down.

“I have a couple of suggestions that probably won’t work,” Marshall said.

He suggested that the speed limit might be able to be lowered, but he wasn’t sure if that was possible since it is currently posted at 25 MPH and it is not a hospital or school zone, which are the zones where the limit could be lower than 25 MPH by Commonwealth law.

“So, I am not sure how that would happen,” Marshall said.

Marshall did say that hanging signs that say “slow” speed signs would be permitted.

“The only sure way to stop people from speeding all the time is what we did in the 1300 block of Otter, and that is to place a speed hump,” Marshall said.

Councilman James Johnson said after reading a story where the Oil City council said stop signs couldn’t be used for speed control under Commonwealth Law that he believes Marshall has a good point.

Franklin City Solicitor Brian Spaid said it was his understanding, after some research, that the law prohibiting stop signs to be used for speed control only applies to First- and Second-Class Cities. Franklin is a home-rule charter city that is also classified as a Third-Class City if a Commonwealth law applies across the board.

Spaid did say that if the Council wanted him to, he would investigate the matter further.

“I would feel better if you would,” Johnson said.

Later in the meeting, the Council instructed Spaid to look into the matter further.

Franklin resident Bob Heller also addressed the Council saying he has lived at 834 Elk Street for 58 years and he can’t recall one accident at 9th and Elk and he said after talking to the police chief, Kevin Anundson, that the chief wasn’t aware of one either.

“I don’t know if a traffic study has been done, but it should be done,” Heller said.

Heller also said there were very few speeders on the street, and he believes the stop sign would actually create more accidents.

James Ellison, however, who lives at the corner of 9th and Elk told the council that while he has all the respect in the world for Heller he is in favor of the stop sign not because there are speeders but because between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. people use the road as a cut-through for people who should be on the main state road.

“There are kids crossing the street there to get to the incredible park right there and they are peaking around parked cars,” Ellison said. “There are cars that go through there and are not paying attention.”

Ellison also said he would be in favor of anything getting people back on the roads they are meant to be on, roads that he believes can handle them.

In the discussion to table the proposals, Councilman Fred Mays said speeding is happening in every neighborhood of the City.

“What we need is more police presence, not more stop signs,” Mays said.

Spaid said this would be another good reason the Council should support efforts in the Commonwealth for local police to be able to use radar.

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