Smith recommends additional speed limit signs on Cedar St.

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     After several calls from city residents and regional news coverage, Monticello Police Chief Britt Smith addressed a speed limit sign issue along South Cedar St. in Monticello.

     During the Sept. 5 city council meeting, Smith spoke to the council about a recent motor vehicle vs. bicyclist accident at the intersection of S. Cedar St. and Grand St. that occurred on Aug. 29.

     “This incident generated some concern among neighbors in the 200 and 300 blocks of S. Cedar,” said Smith. This recent incident resulted in minor injuries.

     A similar incident took place in March at the intersection of S. Cedar St. and Washington St. when an 8-year-old girl on a tricycle lost her life.

     “Their (the neighbors’ concern) is that this area is, in their opinion, a problem for children crossing the street,” said Smith.

     Smith said one neighbor initially suggested a school-crossing zone at both intersections, but Smith said he doesn’t believe this would accomplish anything or prevent anything from happening.

     “We’ve been doing some extra traffic enforcements in this block and tried to reduce people’s speed,” Smith said, “which is the biggest issue we have.”

     Smith told the council that an extra speed limit sign might help.

     “I’m not saying these signs are the end-all be-all of traffic safety,” he said. “However, I think is does serve as a good reminder.”

     When traveling south on Cedar St., once you enter S. Cedar from First St., the next speed limit sign posted at 25mph is not until W. Varvel St. Smith said that’s six blocks before motorists go from 35mph until they realize they should be at 25mph. Going north, the first speed limit sign isn’t until Washington St.

     Smith said an additional sign with a red flag attached might warn drivers to slow down as they head south.

     He said the suggestion that more crosswalks need to be installed, the Aug. 29 incident happened at an intersection with a crosswalk and stop signs.

     “It was at a controlled intersection and I think both parties anticipated the other one waiting,” he said.

     Smith said traveling on Cedar St. involves motorists and pedestrians/bicyclists to be patient and understanding.

     “I think we’d end up with even more of a traffic hazard if we put a school-crossing stop sign in the intersection,” Smith said.

In other city business:

     • Two attempts at approving a proposal for the city’s lot at 224 N. Chestnut St. failed.

     The city received proposals from Tom Harmon and Norm Zimmerman. Harmon, a neighbor to the property, proposed adding an addition into his home. Zimmerman proposed building a new home.

     The council’s first vote to accept the Zimmerman proposal failed 3-3. Their second vote to accept Harmon’s proposal failed 2-4.

     Council member Dave Goedken reminded the council that their initial thought process on selling this lot was to increase the tax base with a new home that fit the neighborhood. Some of the council also wanted to see plans from Zimmerman before making a decision, which were not available at the time of the meeting. Harmon’s plans were included.

     City Administrator Doug Herman suggested discussing the proposals again at the next council meeting.

     • Smith gave an update on the Wernimont house fire from early July. Now that the Monticello Police have completed their investigation, the scene was turned over to an independent fire investigator with State Farm Insurance. After they complete their financial review, Smith said he would release a statement regarding the suspicious nature of the fire.

     “The scene is now free for demolition,” he said.

     • The council approved the first pay request from Eastern Iowa Excavating and Concrete for the Main Street Resurfacing Project: $360,822.49.

     • The council approved the second pay request from Utility Services Co., Inc. for the North Water Tower Repainting Project: $183,692.

     • The council approved the first pay request from Taylor Construction, Inc. for the E. First St. Bridge Replacement Project: $46,941.83. The vote passed 5-1, with Council member Rob Paulson opposed.

     • The council spoke with Jones County E911 Coordinator Gary Schwab concerning renaming and renumbering properties along S. Main St./Business Highway 151 South/Amber Rd./X-44. The council’s recommendation to the E911 Board includes allowing businesses that face S. Main St. to have S. Main St. addresses. The city park-and-drive shelter south of Highway 151 should also be given a S. Main St. address. All properties south of the Kitty Creek Bridge should be given X-44 Amber Rd. addresses.

     Schwab said he would present the council’s recommendation to the E911 Board.


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