It appeared that it was the night. After months of debate back and forth, a decision would finally be made by the Carmel City Council and the controversial stop sign at 126th Street and Auman Drive would either be removed or stay where it is.
The proposed ordinance nearly died with only three of the seven councilors voting to remove the sign. But it was then proposed that the bill be “brought back from the dead” and returned to committee so a compromise can be worked out at a later date.
Back in November, Councilor Sue Finkam introduced an ordinance to remove this stop sign because she said that it’s not warranted according to guidelines and it slows down traffic to a standstill just so a few residents in the Auman Drive neighborhood can turn out of their homes.
Councilor Eric Seidensticker, who represents the area, argued that it was a safety issue and that speeding motorists pose a threat to pedestrians in the neighborhood.
The matter was tabled in December so more research could be done and Finkam said they found more data to support her side of the debate. At the last committee meeting, it was given a 2-1 favorable recommendation with Finkam and Councilor Ron Carter voting in support and Councilor Luci Snyder voting against.
Snyder said she’s OK with removing the sign if another traffic calming device were to be put in place, such as a pedestrian crossing or a stop sign that is only activated at certain times. She also said that 126th Street might need to be widened for additional lanes since more people use that road now after the construction of The Palladium and Carmel City Center.
Prior to a vote on the matter, Seidensticker suggested that the bill be sent back to committee so a “better solution” could be agreed upon. He called simply removing the stop sign a “band-aid” that doesn’t address the larger problem. Finkam disagrees that six figures should be spent on a traffic light or a roundabout at Auman so she asked for a vote.
Councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider voted with Carter and Finkam to remove the sign, but Rider said he agrees that something else needs to take its place. He said he understands that removing the sign is just the first step to fixing the problem and he said it’s possible money could be taken out of the city’s Rainy Day fund to pay for “a solution.”
After the 3-4 vote, the prevailing side was allowed to make a motion to reconsider the matter, which passed 5-2 with Carter and Finkam voting against. It was then sent back to committee so the bill could be amended to allow for changes.
Finkam said it was bad policy to try to change the stop sign bill to include funding for a traffic light or adding lanes to a road. She said that should be a separate ordinance introduced and the matters should be handled separately.