BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – “Somebody’s gonna die.”
That was the sentiment and statement from Fort Madison 3rd Ward City Councilwoman Donna Amandus about the traffic control on 15th Street at avenues F and G.
Several members of the council peppered Public Works Director Mark Bousselot during his update to the council on the danger of black bagging stop signs at Avenue G and Avenue F, as part of the detour for the Avenue H reconstruction work.
“Those black bags over the stop signs are not gonna get it, especially with Rodeo coming up,” Amandus told Bousselot. “Is there something else we can do – put up yellow flashing lights or red lights – something.”
Bousselot said the Iowa Department of Transportation says covering stop signs with plastic bags is acceptable. But he also said he was guilty of stopping when he didn’t need to at times.
“It’s stupid – but acceptable,” said Councilman Tom Schulz.
Mayor Matt Mohrfeld said the council doesn’t agree that it’s acceptable.
Amandus asked Bousselot if there was a better way or if they should just be removed.
“Just take the stop signs down,” Amandus said.
Mohrfeld jumped on the suggestion and agreed that it would be better to just remove the stop signs.
Councilman Chad Cangas said he was going to suggest that as well, but didn’t think it would be received well. Cangas is the council’s liaison to the city’s Safety Committee.
Councilman Rusty Andrews suggested that committee should investigate a better solution.
Councilwoman Rebecca Bowker said the city safety committee should consult with public works and police departments to come up with a solution,.
“We are not transportation experts.,” Bowker said.
No official action was taken on the request as it was brought up during a director’s report, but staff was directed to look into options at the two intersections. The city has also black-bagged stop signs on 6th Street at avenues F and G to create a smoother flow of traffic on the detour.
In a related issue, Bousselot said the new parking lots in front of City Hall and in the Pen City Parking Lot at 8th and Avenue H are now usable for parking. The Pen City lot still has some electrical work that needs to be completed before electric charging stations are in place.
He also said parking is free to the public, but there may be some thought of charging a monthly rate for businesses who are asking for assigned parking in the lot.
“That has not happened yet.”
Bousselot also said there will be also be a charge associated with the electric charging stations.
Crews with Jones Contracting are also beginning to lay down concrete on the Hwy. 61 project from 6th to 10th Street.
“They poured the east bound and center lane this morning and they are pouring the turning lane going into Riverview Park right now,” Bousselot said.