The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Bessemer looks to trade flashing light for downtown sign

 

May 8, 2020



BESSEMER - In response to a request from the Michigan Department of Transportation to take down the flashing light on U.S. 2 in Bessemer at Sophie Street, Mayor Adam Zak is asking MDOT for the right to place two signs pointing to the downtown district.

"In this case they have to choose - deal with a sign or deal with a light. I know the sign is a lot less expensive for them," said Zak during a discussion on the issue at Monday's city council meeting.

According to City Manager Charly Loper, MDOT has requested to remove the flashing light because it is a distraction to the traffic light on U.S. 2 at Moore Street, and it is expensive to operate. However, she pointed out the light is often used by people as a reference point to locate the city's downtown district.

"Personally, I like it because I think it is easy for us to say downtown is at the flashing light, but I understand where they are coming from also," said Loper.

Loper told the Daily Globe Thursday that she talked with an MDOT official after Monday's meeting and they were amenable to putting up downtown directional signs, but no decision had been made. Their idea is to do the switch as part of the planned 2021-2022 reconstruction of U.S. 2 through the city.

At the meeting, councilman Bill McDonald said that the city needs the light to help slow people down.

"We need the light," he said. "It does slow traffic down. ... It slows me down and I got a heavy foot."

Councilwoman Linda Nelson said the flashing light has been there for a long time, and she feels that it is a cop-out on MDOT's part.

"I think their viewpoint that it could obscure people's visibility of the Moore Street light (is) a cop-out, because this light has been there for eons and if that was a factor they would have said something about it a long, long, long time ago," Nelson said.

Zak, who is also a deputy with the Gogebic County Sheriff's Department, said he agrees with MDOT's argument that the flashing light at Sophie does blend in with the traffic light at Moore.

"I have seen it when I'm patrolling. It does blend in with the other lights, you can see the yellow flashing and it looks like a yellow (traffic signal) light," Zak said. "I can get it for the downtown district, as a spot to turn, but I'm not seeing any of the safety reasons of that light. I don't think it does a darn thing."

Mayor Pro Tem Terry Kryshak pointed out the two older gentleman (himself included) on the council, want to keep the light as it is a key reference point for them.

"Here's the issue, you got the two old guys asking to keep it so we know where the hell we got to turn," said Kryshak. "I like your idea, Adam. If we could trade it for a really nice sign pointing to the downtown district, city hall, I'd go for it because then you'd have a new reference point."

Councilman Lou Miskovich said that he felt the sign would actually be better then a light, as a reference from the business perspective.

 
 

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