Stop Signs Coming Out in Sturgeon Bay

Despite arguments from three citizens and two council members, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council voted Aug. 7 to take down stop signs on Egg Harbor Road at Georgia Street and 8th Avenue.

“You’re going to be turning that into a racetrack from 3rd Ave. right out to 14th Ave. with no stops,” said resident Tim Dietman during public comment. “For us that live in that little corner of town that is our only thoroughfare to get out to Egg Harbor Road and to get out to the grocery stores to do any shopping.”

Council member Bob Schlicht of District 7, who voted as part of the Parking and Traffic Committee to bring the recommendation to eliminate the stop signs before the Common Council, said he’s received numerous phone calls from citizens in his district against the removal and also talked with patrol officers about the effect of removing the stop signs.

“I guess I asked the question over and over, is it a safer street without the stop signs? And my answer to that is no,” said Schlicht. “So that’s why I’m changing my position, that’s why I wouldn’t move forward and make the recommendation.”

In all likelihood, the stop signs would have come down next April regardless of any action taken by the council. The current, non-finalized detour route for next year’s Bayview Bridge closure sends southbound traffic through that section of Egg Harbor Road, and the state has expressed that removal of the stop signs would be necessary to maintain traffic flow.

“If the state’s gonna make us take them out, I would rather have time before that than just taking them out right before the detour,” said council member Joe Stutting, who voted for eliminating the stop signs. “I’d like to see the road work without stop signs and re-evaluate that and see what we need to do.”

The intersections were originally designed to function without any stops, but signs were instituted some years ago in an attempt to make them safer.

Councilmember Dan Wiegand of District 1, who joined Schlicht in voting against elimination, asked why the council was essentially backtracking.

“I don’t know where everybody’s coming from where they’re jumping on this bandwagon to take down the stop signs when we have less accidents and everything’s working fine,” said Wiegand.

The final vote to take down the signs came in at 4-2, with council member Stewart Fett absent from the meeting.

Amended 8-9-12:  Tim Dietman was originally listed as being Assistant Fire Chief for Sturgeon Bay. He was not speaking in his official capacity at the time and so his title was removed from the article.