It didn’t take long for Payne County District 3 Commissioner Rocky Blasier to develop a new priority after he took office on Jan. 2. Blasier says from his first day, his office was inundated with phone calls and emails from people who wanted him to remove a pair of four-way stops installed where Western Road intersects with 68th Street and 80th Street.
Traffic on Western was not previously expected to stop at those intersection, although drivers on the numbered side roads were expected to stop.
The installation of the four-way stops was one of the last things outgoing District 3 Commissioner Kent Bradley did before he left office, Blasier said. The reaction from people who travel along Western Road was strong, immediate and overwhelmingly negative.
Bradley had been concerned about slowing north/south traffic on Western Road since early in his term because there had been several serious auto accidents on county roads in his district. Most, including at least one fatality, occurred at crossroads when a vehicle trying to enter the intersection from a side road was struck by a vehicle traveling from another direction that was being driven too fast.
The standard speed limit on county roads is 45 mph unless posted differently.
At one point, Bradley had discussed the idea of building traffic circles, also called roundabouts, along Western Road to slow traffic, but keep it flowing.
That option was not pursued after looking at the cost.
Blasier removed the four-way stops within two weeks of taking office because he was concerned about people who use the side roads getting too used to the idea that traffic on Western Road would stop.
He said he understands and shares the concern about people driving too fast on Western Road, but he also thought the four-way stops created potential hazards if people unused to stopping were blowing through them.
Blasier said he also had concerns about traffic backing up at those intersections on Oklahoma State University game days and creating new problems, because Western Road is used as an alternate route by many people coming to Stillwater from the south.