The Hampstead Town Council last night found itself caught between conflicting petitions.
At the council meeting, chaired by Councilman Arthur Moler because Mayor Clint Becker was out of town for a funeral, Wallace Boston presented a petition asking the council to reverse its October decision to create a four-way stop at the intersection of Fairmount Road, McAllister Lane and Popes Creek Drive.
Mr. Boston, who lives on St. Paul Street, said the petition contained 160 signatures.
About half were from town residents, he said, and half were from other people who use Fairmount Road daily.
The council voted 4-1 in October to make the intersection a four-way stop after another group of residents presented a petition containing 70 signatures, asking for safety improvements at the intersection.
Mr. Moler voted against the change.
Before the change was made, eastbound traffic on Fairmount Road did not have to stop at the intersection, and westbound traffic on Fairmount Road could turn right without stopping.
But Mr. Boston said last night, "The four-way stop has created a safety hazard."
Traffic backs up at night from the intersection to Route 30, he added.
He said residents who are used to Fairmount Road traffic not having to stop at the corner are confused over who has the right of way at the intersection.
There have been at least two near-misses there since the four-way stop was implemented, he said.
Councilman Dwight Womer responded, "I think everybody who travels that intersection needs to go back to their drivers' ed book and study that."
Councilman Gary Bauer said that at the October council meeting, traffic engineer Mike Miyamoto of KCI Technologies told the council that if the goal was to move traffic, it could make some changes, such as adding warning signs near the intersection.
But if the goal was to increase safety, Mr. Miyamoto said, the intersection should be a four-way stop.
"It was either flow or safety," Mr. Bauer said. "We chose safety."
When council members said the intersection had been built with incorrect grading to cope with the through traffic on Fairmount Road, resident Frank Primus asked whether anyone had inspected the intersection when it was built.
"Marty [Martin K. P.] Hill was the developer," he said. "Don't you have any comeback on him?"
Councilwoman Jacqueline Hyatt said that when the intersection was built, McAllister Lane was supposed to be a through street.
"I'm not here to be satisfying builders or anyone," Mrs. Hyatt said. "I'm here for the safety."
The council took no action on the matter last night.