By Tom Gilchrist
For The Advertiser
MAYVILLE — Folks around here are asking a question about the town’s lone stoplight: Should it stay or should it go?
Village Planning Commission Chairwoman Barbara Fowler said a village resident approached her about removing the stoplight at Main and Fulton streets. Fowler said she’s done her own research about whether the traffic signal creates an unnecessary delay for motorists.
“Am I sitting there waiting for nothing?” Fowler said at a Sept. 3 Planning Commission meeting. “Mostly, I’m sitting there waiting for nothing.”
“A lot of people” favor taking down the stoplight, according to Virgil Drzewicki, who said he took an informal survey about the topic. Twelve of 15 respondents support removal of the light with a four-way stop — using stop signs — in its place, according to Drzewicki.
But village resident John Gorde wants the light left alone in Mayville, population 950.
“It’s the only change we have in town,” said Gorde, who has lived in Mayville for 50 years.
“Somebody feels it holds them up on the way to the post office,” Gorde added. “They’ve got to get to the post office. What have they got to do that’s so important they can’t wait 30 seconds?”
Fowler said “It makes no difference to me” if the stoplight remains or gets taken down.
“There are a lot of times you stop there for a red light and there’s noboby going through the light from the other direction. …” Fowler said. “I mentioned it to someone and they said ‘You mean to tell me we don’t have enough time to sit there and wait?’ Well, sometimes we don’t — you know?”
Some residents say the village would cut electricity costs by not having to pay for a stoplight. But Gorde figures drivers — or pedestrians — could pay another price if they rely on drivers to stop at stop signs.
“I live on the corner lot here at Lincoln and Turner streets, and drivers don’t hardly stop for those stop signs,” Gorde said. “They fly right through them just like they’re never there. If they put stop signs where the light is, I feel that we’re going to have a bunch of accidents.”
Fowler said motorists traveling through Mayville on the way home from “up north” end up getting stopped at the light. Gorde doesn’t figure that’s all bad.
“If you take it out, you don’t give people the chance to stop and see what we’ve got in this town,” Gorde said. “We ain’t got much, but maybe they’ll be interested in it.”
Fowler, who grew up in Mayville, said the stoplight was put in place in 1962.
“The reason I remember that so well is that I was living in Pontiac and working at a hospital down there, and when I told them that Mayville got its first stoplight, those city people just hooted and hollered on me so bad,” Fowler said.