City commissioners left standing stop signs installed after a fatal accident 14 years ago in west Lawrence.
Lawrence second-grader Ben Bjorge walked into the path of a car at the intersection at Eighth and Kasold at 4 p.m. Nov. 30, 1981.
The 7-year old boy was struck by a vehicle driven by teen-ager Robert Talley of Lawrence. Bjorge died the next morning at Stormont-Vail Regional Medical Center in Topeka.
Parents of children attending Sunset Hill School -- Bjorge's school -- rebelled. Within a week, city officials yielded to demands for installation of stop signs on Kasold.
Motorists have been required to halt before progressing through that intersection for the past 14 years.
On Tuesday night, the Lawrence City Commission voted 3-2 to keep it that way.
Mayor Bob Moody and commissioners Bonnie Augustine and Allen Levine upheld a Traffic Safety Commission recommendation to reject a request from Jeff Hatfield, 2713 Princeton, to remove the stop signs.
Hatfield maintained the signs were a frivolous impediment to traffic on Kasold. A traffic signal at Sixth and Kasold and a four-way stop at Kasold and Harvard Road are sufficient, he said.
Commissioners John Nalbandian and Jo Andersen agreed the stop signs should be removed.
Nalbandian said city engineers determined traffic at the intersection didn't meet minimum requirements for stop signs. City Manager Mike Wildgen said traffic wasn't sufficient to require the signs when they were installed in 1981.
"It might increase safety by removing the signs," Nalbandian said.
On the contrary, Moody said, motorists would likely continue to stop at the intersection if signs were removed, thereby increasing the potential for accidents.
Andersen said the original decision to install stop signs on Kasold was based more on emotion than logic.
"I think it was a logical decision," Levine countered. "I feel like we should have the signs there."
Then-Douglas County Dist. Atty. Mike Malone declined to file charges against Talley.
Malone concluded a vehicle had stopped in the left southbound lane to allow Bjorge and a friend to cross Kasold. Talley thought the vehicle ahead of him was turning left. As Talley steered around that vehicle, his car struck Bjorge.
- Should stop signs remain at Eighth and Kasold? Answer the J-W Access question on page 2B.