WHEELING - Valley View Avenue resident Keith Bell said he took issue with Randy Berisford's comments last week before Wheeling City Council questioning the wisdom of putting additional stop signs on that street.
Legislation now before council would add stop signs for traffic heading both directions on Valley View Avenue at its intersection with Biltmore Avenue and Betty Street, creating a four-way stop. Council members are expected to vote on the matter June 19 after hearing first reading of the ordinance during a meeting this week.
Speaking before council last week, Berisford, who lives about three blocks away at 1338 Valley View Ave., said he's unsure whether the stop sign is the best solution to the problem. He said creating a four-way stop would eliminate eight parking spaces and increase congestion on the street, and suggested the city instead look at decreasing the posted 25 mph speed limit.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Valley View Avenue resident Keith Bell is pictured with his son Jackson, 2, at the spot on that street where a new stop sign would be installed if Wheeling City Council approves it later this month.
Bell, however, believes only three parking spaces would be lost - including one he said he frequently uses - because vehicles can only park on one side of all three intersecting streets. He also circulated a petition signed by about 20 people at 15 homes on his block and presented it to the Traffic Commission last month.
"The people that are going to be most inconvenienced are the ones who want" the sign, said Bell.
He also believes extending the yellow curb will alleviate another hazard by increasing visibility for traffic entering Valley View Avenue from Betty Street. As Bell spoke about the situation while standing on the street, a motorist attempted to make the blind turn and had to brake suddenly for an oncoming car.
Bell also countered Berisford's point concerning congestion, saying he believes the lengthened yellow curbs will keep traffic flowing at times when two vehicles can't safely pass each other on the narrow street.
"When there are cars coming both ways, there will be a place to pull over, and we don't really have that now," he said.
Both Bell and Berisford lost to David Miller in the race for the 4th Ward's seat on council in the May 8 municipal election.
Bell said most of the residents on his block have young children or grandchildren who visit regularly. And while he has led the push for the stop sign, Bell said he's speaking on behalf of neighbors who approached him during his recent campaign for City Council.
"I think people are looking at it as Keith Bell's stop sign," he said. "It's not."
Earlier this year, the city performed a traffic study that logged the speed of 2,777 vehicles on Valley View Avenue at the intersection in question. It found about 9 percent of those vehicles exceeded the speed limit, but some of them did so at an extreme.
In the 75-hour period studied, 35 vehicles were clocked at 40 mph or higher, and 11 registered 60 mph and above.