Effort to remove 126th Street stop sign is defeated again
For months, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard and some of the Carmel City Council have been trying to remove a stop sign at 126th Street and Auman Drive. But another effort fell short at the June 15 council meeting, leading some to think the next step is to wait for the new city council to take office in January.
Led by bill sponsor Sue Finkam, the premise is that the stop sign slows down traffic on 126th and is unwarranted. Others argue that the stop sign provides a safe way to cross the busy street and provides one of the only exits for the neighborhood.
Finkam brought the bill out for a vote in February but it died 3-4 before being revived and sent back to committee to be reworked. The idea was that a compromise would be reached, such as putting in a pedestrian crossway or a traffic light. None of that came to fruition.
In committee, it was debated whether roundabouts should be added at 126th and Kinser Avenue, just east of this stop sign. It was also discussed about whether to spend around $5 million to turn 126th Street into a parkway with a median from Range Line Road to Keystone Avenue.
City Councilor Luci Snyder felt strongly about adding the roundabout and making the road improvements and said she would vote to remove the sign if she could get a guarantee that these projects would move forward. Finkam and other councilors said they supported those projects but that they disagree on the urgency and feel other projects might have to come first.
The stop sign removal came up for a vote again and the vote was the same as last time, 3-4 with Finkam, Ron Carter and Kevin “Woody” Rider voting to remove the stop sign.
Three of the four councilors who voted against removal – Snyder, Eric Seidensticker and Rick Sharp – will not remain on the council come January. At least one of the three new councilors has indicated that he would vote to remove the stop sign. During his campaign, Jeff Worrell stood in front of the controversial stop sign to let voters know where he stands on the issue.
“We should have at least four votes,” Finkam said of the new council.
Until then, some neighbors are happy that the sign is staying. Jordan Barker, a 14-year-old freshman at Carmel High School, said she uses that stop sign to safely walk to summer gym class at school.
“If the stop sign isn’t there, I can’t walk to school or to the library, which is inconvenient because I can’t drive and I love to read and go to the library,” she said.
Sharp said he voted against the matter because of neighbors like Barker.
“The facts are kind of being discarded along the way so three minutes can be saved by a handful of people because of a stop sign,” he said.