Waterloo City Council split on making changes to deadly intersec - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo City Council split on making changes to deadly intersection

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Greg Freshwater Greg Freshwater

The Waterloo City Council is split on making changes to an intersection where a firefighter was recently hit and killed. 

Ansborough Avenue and W. Shaulis Road is where Waterloo Firefighter 27-year-old Greg Freshwater was struck by an SUV as he tried to run across the street. Greg's family says the intersection is dangerous and appeared in front of the Waterloo City Council to call for changes.

On Monday night, Waterloo City Council members voted 4-3 to approve the first of what could be six votes to make the intersection a four-way stop. 

Councilmen Tom Lind, Jerome Amos Jr., Pat Morrissey and Tom Powers supported making the intersection a four-way stop. Steve Schmitt, Ron Welper and Bruce Jacobs voted against it.

Councilman Steve Schmitt said, "We are overreacting to this and it's just not a wise choice. If we are going to put one here, then we will have to put one there, and people are concerned that there will be a stoplight or stop sign every mile."

On the other hand, Waterloo's Traffic Engineer Mohammad Elahi is recommending that the intersection becomes a four-way stop. 

He says, "It is the safest form of intersection control for both pedestrians and cars."

It's been more than one month since Freshwater was killed. Elahi says he spent about 4-5 days studying the intersection.

"Looking at accident reports, 4 out of 5 accidents have been from people running a stop sign. When the cross traffic is going 45-50 mph, running a stop sign could cause serious injuries or fatalities," he says. 

Schmitt says he needs more information at this time.

"What we need to do is step back, take our time and resolve this in a calm and logical manner. I think right now, we are running on emotion and again everyone feels really bad about what happened, but this isn't going to change that," he says.

Elahi argues it's about future prevention saying, "The exposure is low when traffic is down, but as traffic picks up and we have more volumes, the chance of a severe accident is there and a four-way stop will help that."

Greg's uncle and former Waterloo Battalion Fire Chief Marty Freshwater released a statement to KWWL on behalf of the family saying, "It is sad that when it comes to the overall safety of people that there has to be controversy. It's not that hard to do the right thing. The Mayor, City Staff and Tom Powers, Jerome Amos Jr., Tom Lind and Pat Morrissey are trying and we thank them.

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