Brownstown Town Council proposes four-way stops near judicial center



Two intersections near the Jackson County Courthouse are close to becoming four-way stops.

Currently, traffic traveling on Sugar Street has to stop at Walnut Street, while vehicles on Walnut Street do not have to stop.

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Then a block south, Sugar Street traffic doesn’t have to stop, but motorists on Cross Street are required to stop.

The town council recently discussed changing both intersections from two- to four-way stops to avoid confusion and make it safer for vehicles and pedestrians.

One day while working at The Jackson County Banner office on Cross Street, council President Sally Lawson said she realized something needed to change at the nearby intersection.

“There’s a lot more people walking in that area and people backing out of spots,” she said. “There’s been twice where I noticed people almost hitting each other.”

The Jackson County Judicial Center is getting ready to open along Sugar Street, and that will result in more traffic in the area.

Plus, the town has purchased the newspaper office to move the town hall and police department there.

“I feel like there’s going to be a lot more foot traffic with the town hall, post office, judicial center and courthouse,” Lawson said. “I think being our main town square, it needs to be a four-way stop on those two corners.”

Councilman Gregg Goshorn agreed. On a daily basis, he said he takes Sugar Street and stops at the Walnut Street intersection to turn left to go to work. With the judicial center construction going on and more vehicles parked around the courthouse square, he said it’s difficult to see while making a turn.

The council unanimously approved to have town attorney Rodney Farrow draft an ordinance to change those intersections to four-way stops.

Councilwoman Sharon Koch then brought up the need for yellow marking on curbs near stop signs around the town. She said there are several locations where the paint has faded or there’s no yellow marking at all.

The yellow curb marking prevents vehicles from parking near stop signs so motorists have clear vision at intersections.

Clerk-Treasurer David Willey said street department workers recently painted some curbs, but the hot weather resulted in the paint peeling off. He said they will try to paint again soon.

Another intersection the council talked about was where Base Road, Jackson Street and State Road 250 come together on the east edge of town. Traffic is heavy in the mornings and mid-afternoons on school days when Brownstown Elementary School students are being dropped off or picked up by a family member or a bus.

Goshorn said Indiana Department of Transportation officials observed the intersection and ruled it would not be ideal to have a stoplight there.

With the sheriff’s department being nearby, officers help with traffic control at peak times, and a town police officer usually is set up on Base Road to ensure traffic flows safely. The concern is the safety of the officer at the intersection standing in the middle of the roadway.

Goshorn asked if some type of sign could be put up that officers could control remotely and not have to stand in harm’s way.

Farrow said since it involves a state highway, the town would have to receive INDOT approval.

Another concern involving the elementary school is that there’s only one way in and out in the event of an emergency. Town officials have been working to correct that issue by possibly building a road behind the school to connect to Steinkamp Street.

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