Police to step up crosswalk patrols

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Sgt. Bob Droessler of the Iola Police Department shows a new sign marking the Prairie Spirit Trail’s intersection with North State Street. The sign replaces an identical one that had been stolen shortly after it was erected.

Iola’s traffic laws and animal control situation became central elements Tuesday to a wide-ranging discussion among Iola city commissioners.
Crosswalk laws will be monitored more closely, Iola Police Chief Jared Warner said.
“We’re going to keep a much closer eye to make sure people are stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk,” he said.
Motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians will be cited, Warner said.
One crosswalk in particular — marking the Prairie Spirit Trail’s intersection with North State Street — will get additional signage to make the intersection more visible, and city crews will repaint the crosswalk stripes.
Warner noted that a new sign marking the trail’s crosswalk lasted all of 2 1/2 days before it was stolen. It was replaced a day later with an added security device.
“This one’s anchored to the street,” Warner said.
Still, commissioners were eager to get the stolen sign back.
“If anybody knows the sign’s whereabouts, they could call Crime Stoppers,” Mayor Bill Maness said.

MANESS ALSO asked Warner about the Madison-Buckeye stoplights.
“We have ‘no turn on red’ signs that are routinely ignored,” Maness said. “Some people pull too far into the intersection to engage the pressure plates that cause the signal to change, so they may sit there for a minute or two before they think the light’s not working correctly and leave.
“Others just don’t care,” the mayor said. “They just ignore it altogether.”
Commissioners wondered if the signs barring the turns could be removed.
The city must appeal to the Kansas Department of Transportation to remove the signs because Madison is a part of U.S. 54.
Warner said better enforcement of the intersection and more visible markings dictating where motorists should stop would be a better option.

COMMISSIONERS also wondered if the city should be more stringent upon locking up the entrances at Highland Cemetery promptly at 8 p.m. daily, as signs at the cemetery note.
Warner suggested the city change its rules for the cemetery, instead locking the entrances from dusk to dawn.
Mayor Bill Maness noted that Iola Cemetery has no such barricade preventing late-night visitors.
Does Highland still need to be locked, Shirley asked.
“I’d say yes, to deter vandalism,” Warner replied.

THE CITY still has not decided its long-term plans for animal control.
Commissioners are deciding whether it would be less expensive to contract the service to a private company or hire a part-time animal control officer.
Currently, police officers handle such things as snaring stray animals, while folks calling about vermin are referred to exterminators in the area.
Commissioners also discussed cleanup of an area west of the Neosho River bridge, a popular fishing spot that has become inundated with litter and weeds.
An article detailing the area appears elsewhere in today’s Register.