Not so fast: Basalt agrees to put removal of Willits Lane stop signs on hold

Traffic heads south on Willits Lane to the stop sign at Meadow Road. The stop signs on southbound and northbound Willits Lane at Meadow Road were slated to be removed by Basalt on Aug. 26. That decision is on hold.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

Willits residents said “not so fast” to Basalt’s plan to get rid of two stop signs on Willits Lane.

Pressure from Willits’ residents convinced town officials to delay the removal of the stop signs at Willits Lane and Meadow Road. Town Manager Ryan Mahoney said the delay is indefinite. The town will crank up a public process and present data supporting its claim that the signs can be removed without compromising safety.

The signs on southbound and northbound Willits Lane are scheduled to be removed Aug. 26. Mahoney explained to Town Council on Tuesday night that they were installed before his tenure as a way to slow traffic. However, traffic experts advise against using stop signs solely for speed control, he said. In addition, the town monitored speeds for 30 days and found few violations, Mahoney said.

Willits resident Carol Hawk attended Tuesday’s meeting to object to the sign removal for safety reasons. She asked the town government to engage in a broader public process before reaching a decision.

The council didn’t make any comment, but Hawk said Friday she heard from Basalt Police Chief Greg Knott on Thursday night that the stop sign removal is on hold. Hawk said several letters were submitted and a petition started against the stop sign removal since Tuesday night.

Mahoney said the town agreed to hold off on a decision until Eagle County reviews a proposal for a small subdivision west of Willits Lane, across from Sopris Circle in Willits. The proposal for the subdivision calls for creating its own dedicated access off Willits Lane about 280 feet from the Meadow Road intersection. Some neighborhood residents feel the access should be aligned with Meadow Road and the intersection maintained as a four-way stop.

Mahoney said the review of the project and town’s decision on the stop signs aren’t related, but he agreed to put the stop sign removal on hold anyway.

“We will pause on the stop sign so the development review can proceed without distraction,” he said.