Darrell Crockett likes to relax on the front porch of his home at the intersection of Vallonia Road and South Main Street in Brownstown.
But at times, that’s not an enjoyable or safe experience because he has seen people drive by fast or fail to stop at the stop signs.
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He recently attended a Brownstown Town Council meeting for the third time since he moved into his home in 2003, requesting the intersection be changed from a two-way stop to a four-way stop.
One time, a motorist traveling south on Main Street took the curve onto Vallonia Road too fast and wound up striking Crockett’s home.
“If there had been a stop sign on South Main, it might have slowed that down a little bit,” he said.
Another time, a car ran into a pole in his yard.
“I have seen so many near-miss accidents. There have been quite a few accidents,” Crockett said. “But I love this town, and I love the folks of this town. We need to do something to control that intersection.”
Currently, stop signs are on the Vallonia Road side and an alley leading to Hoosier Christian Village across the road. Motorists traveling on Main Street do not have to stop.
The speed limit is 30 mph, but Crockett said some people drive faster than that in the area.
He also said since Main Street veers onto Vallonia Road and there isn’t a stop sign, drivers making a turn should use their signal.
“Fifty to 60 percent do not use their turn signal,” Crockett said.
Having only two stop signs at the intersection causes confusion for some motorists, he said.
Council President John Nolting said he agreed. He lives in a neighborhood south of that intersection.
“Those of us that live down there know to slow down because when somebody is coming from Vallonia Road, you don’t know whether they are going to keep coming or not,” Nolting said.
For Crockett and his neighbors near the intersection, it’s also dangerous when they have to pull in and out of their driveways. Traffic comes from both the stop sign at the intersection of Vallonia Road and Poplar Street and as Main Street curves onto Vallonia Road.
“Sometimes, they are running 50 mph coming around that curve. It’s all over at that point,” he said. “The neighbors go backing out on the road, it just always scares me to death they are going to get hit.”
Clerk-Treasurer David Willey said police officers have monitored the intersection, and speeding tickets have been issued in the past.
“I don’t want people to get tickets,” Crockett said. “I just want them to follow the rules of the road and see how hazardous that intersection truly is for the folks in our town that go that way.”
Years ago, the area of the intersection was where U.S. 50 traveled through the town and continued on to Vallonia and Medora.
“When that was changed, of course, that took away a lot of traffic, but then after that is when all of the housing addition was put down there, and Main Street was extended,” Willey said.
Council member Bill Sweeney said people now use the road as a shortcut to get from State Road 135 to U.S. 50. Making the intersection a four-way stop might be a good way to reduce the amount traffic in the area, he said.
Crockett is all too familiar with the dangers of an intersection. In 1999, he was seriously injured where Base Road, Bridge Street and Sugar Street intersect in town. As he was riding his motorcycle in that area, a motorist ran a yield sign, causing Crockett to crash.
Soon after the accident, the town made that intersection a four-way stop.
“That was wonderful when they put that four-way stop in that intersection,” he said. “I just never want to see anything like that happen in front of my house.”
Adding stop signs at the intersection near Crockett’s home would require an ordinance to be created by town attorney Rodney Farrow and reviewed by the council.
In the meantime, Nolting said it would be good for all of the council members to take a look at the intersection and see what could be done to make it safer.