Controversy continues over Frenchie Road in Pioche. Some people are in favor of the placing of stop signs on Airport Road, and closing off the intersection at Frenchie Road, others are not pleased with the manner in which the closure was done and would like to see the road remain open.
Les Derkovitz appeared before the Board of Highway Commissioners at the Sept. 3 meeting to explain his thinking that the stop signs were not needed on Airport Road, Frenchie Road should not have been closed off, and that proper procedure and criteria to inform or notify local residents had not been followed.
He questioned what is the specific problem with Frenchie Road, and requested a reexamination to look more closely at what alternatives there may be. “I realize part of it is on private property, and that there are major flooding issues there, but I think there are alternatives that could be done that would continue the road and solve both problems.”
Commissioner Paul Mathews disagreed saying the highway board was reacting to recommendations made by the town board, as the town board cannot order signs to be put up, but the highway board can.
Having the signs at the 5-way intersection with Airport Road, Derkovitz said he did not think it made any sense. “Why do we want to stop traffic on the main flowing road to yield for the side roads, when the side roads, in effect, have no traffic on them anyway? It would seem the appropriate way at that intersection would be to stop the side road traffic, and allow the main traffic (down Airport Road) to go through.”
He also thought the sudden appearance of the stop signs was not done with proper procedure or criteria to the residents living in the area. He said there was no traffic study control done to prove the stop signs should be there, and what history of accidents is there to justify the placement of the signs?
“If there is addition traffic control needed at those intersections,” he said, “it seems to me we also need put up stop signs on Main Street, all the way from the Overland Hotel down to the courthouse and every crossing there,” he said. “There is more traffic there than where we put them up.”
Derkovitz requested, “some sort of criteria and procedure be established by which these things are done, including public meetings, and then reexamine both of the issues.”
Others at the meeting took a differing position from Derkovitz, saying they approved the stop signs at the five-way intersection because it has greatly slowed down traffic on Airport Road.
In addition, trucks making deliveries now have to stop and makes it safer for children going to and from the nearby school.
One person said they felt it is a residential area with at least 20 school children living nearby, “and there are drivers who speed up and down that road. Those stop signs have made a whole different road.
I’ve been there 37 years, I know what the problem is, and it has completely helped. Who wants to take the stop signs down and wait till one of our kids gets hit?”
Another parent who came with a handful of letters of support for the signs, said she could bring in 150 more if requested.
Tom Brown said he has noticed a new problem arising, because now drivers are going off Lacour Street onto Silver Street, which has no stop signs, and also another five-way intersection at Frenchie and Silver Street, has increased traffic on that street. “Now you have the same problem there you had before on Airport Road,” he said. “We need to take a look at putting some sort of speed control on Silver Street. The same kids that are playing on Airport Road are playing on Silver Street.”
Sheriff Kerry Lee said he was also concerned about traffic on the streets in that part of town because there are no sidewalks for pedestrians to use. He felt the advantage on Airport Road now is that delivery trucks can’t go as fast as they may have in the past. The problem had been, Lee explained, that, “even though a truck may not be going as fast on a straight shot road, they can’t stop as fast as a private vehicle. The four-way stop now near the school does work.”
Donohue said he thought the board would be willing look at establishing criteria and procedures for examining placement of stop signs on roads around towns in the county. Mathews said the planning department should also be consulted in the process.
He also suggested expanding the scope of work done by an engineering company looking at solving the flooding problems in the older portions Pioche to include the northwest part of town as well, including workshops and public meetings.
Donohue concluded by saying Sunrise Engineering will be contacted, he will work with the Pioche Town Board to look at the part of town that has not been concentrated on as much as needs be, work with the BLM to deepen the detention basin between Airport Road and Silver Street, and determine to have more meetings with the public to present ideas and take comment, as well as seek funding. “It’s fine to take a pencil and draw pretty pictures, but we have to have the dollars, too.”