LYNN - While any railroad crossing can be dangerous, throw in several roads around it, and the safety level decreases.
Lynn has a main intersection with a railroad, Long Street, East Main Street and West Main Street. Safety is the paramount reason for turning the current four-way stop into a six-way. However, the addition of two stop signs will stop each vehicle only once going through the intersection, no matter the direction of travel. Currently, Long Street traffic does not stop going through the intersection; only East Main Street and West Main Street traffic stops.
Instead of adding stop signs at the Norfolk Southern Railroad crossing, the two signs will be posted before the crossing, not at it. Where Long Street intersects East Main Street, the stop sign will be placed next to Lynn Town Hall on the corner. At the intersection of Long Street and West Main Street, the sign will be placed next to Becky’s Wholesale Flowers, heading east on Long Street.
The safety concern was mentioned at the Lynn Town Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 19. Lynn Police Chief Bryan Kirkpatrick saw the need for the additional stop signs, and Town Clerk Marcia Manasco has been in touch with the Alabama League of Municipalities concerning the addition of the stop signs. Attorney Jeff Mobley is also helping the town with the legal portion of the project, as an ordinance has to be approved at a town meeting.
“People will use (the intersection) as a ramp,” Kirkpatrick said, explaining his concerns. “They don’t slow down, and they fly over that railroad track. One day we’re going to have an accident there. That’s the only reason we’re doing this.”
Kirkpatrick explained that since the town did not have a court system and all incidents were sent through Winston County District Court, the town receives little money from ticket fines.
“It’s not about generating money because we don’t have city court,” Kirkpatrick added. “It’s nothing about that. It’s about safety for the citizens in the Town of Lynn.”
Kirkpatrick said the Town of Lynn is a good, quiet town, and he wants to keep it that way.
With Long Street open and without stop signs, traffic stopping at Long Street from either of the two main streets has a limited sight distance for the oncoming traffic. This is the reason the signs will be placed on the corners of the intersection instead of at the railroad crossing.
“If I stopped them at the tracks, they’re going to block the intersection,” Kirkpatrick added. “If a train is coming now, and they stop for the train, they’re still blocking the intersection.”
The north and south intersection can continue if vehicles are stopped before the railroad tracks and not block the intersection.
Council members agreed with having the stop signs posted.
“I say...we give Bryan the OK to purchase the needed amount of signs as requested and to do the six-way stop,” Allen Barnett, council member, said during the meeting. It was seconded by Tommy Chambless and approved.
“It will be a hindrance until people get used to it,” Kirkpatrick continued. “But I have watched people. They come off Long Street heading west, and they don’t slow down.”
An additional three stop signs will be purchased. Two will be placed to stop traffic at the intersection of East Main Street and Heck Street. The other will be added to stop the traffic on West Main Street and County Road 59 at the southern end of town, thus have traffic stop at all three railroad crossings in Lynn.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.