Setting Speed Limits
Children at Play Signs
Multiway Stop Requests
Requests for Guide Rail
Objects in the County ROW
Public Works & Transportation
Highways & Transportation
Common Traffic Eng. Related Topics
Multiway Stop Requests
Multiway Stop Requests
Multi-Way Stops at Intersections
Last Revision October 2000
National guidelines exist to assist in considering all-way stops. Whereas, warranted stop and multi-stop locations are considered "must-do" for reasons of liability exposure, many municipalities use rather subjective reasons to place these all-way stops; they do not necessarily follow the national guidelines. Many municipalities (typically local police departments and small towns/councils without engineering departments) have installed all-way stops simply under their authority as the responsible jurisdiction, often yielding to a petition or other politicized reason. This is not to say that we dismiss their decision making processes. On the contrary, even the placement of perhaps-unmerited stops (when compared to the traditional warrants) is nevertheless legally binding. But are they necessary stop signs? We certainly welcome petitions as effective tools to bring issues to bear. However, the Division of Public Works would strive to at least consider “the root problem” or other mitigations and responses before we would consider to (try to) make everyone stop in response to the reckless actions of a few. As we stated above, we certainly don’t endorse to use a multi-way stop or stops at mid-block intersections if the perceived purpose is to slow speeds along a street. For purposes of example only, here are some ideas when this office would consider, or not consider, a multi-way stop. However, each situation will be judged on its own merits.
All-way stops may be considered when...
traditional warrants are met; i.e., high hourly traffic volumes on all approaches, accident patterns of a type that may be mitigated by all-way stops, or as an interim measure when a signal is warranted but can’t be immediately built.
both streets may be "spine roads" (i.e., say, major streets serving a subdivision) and have approximately equal volumes. In other words, it=s hard to tell which street is "major" and which is "minor".
the intersection is the defacto central hub within the subdivision
stopping is warranted or prudent for any approach leg
even without the claim that "kids/ped's, etc. cross here!"
when poor approach sight distances exist coupled with the expectation or hesitance to need to stop on approach.
under the fairly recently adopted County Neighborhood Traffic and Speed Mitigation Policy neighborhoods can seek to “impose upon themselves” an all-way stop, assuming a proper petition and review process.
All-way stops are not endorsed...
to control mid-block speeding problems. (See earlier discussion)
if no warrants exist and one street is clearly "minor" to the other.
based primarily on the complainant’s reasoning "that the school bus stop is there!"(During "off hours" the control is not justified. During mornings and afternoons the safe delivery of children to the bus stop is the parents= responsibility. The bus will load/unload under flashing lights, stopping all traffic.)
based on the complainant=s reasoning that pedestrians are occasionally present.(Very high pedestrian volumes must exist; i.e. downtown city conditions, or vehicle delays approaching 30 seconds due to crossing pedestrians.)
re: the above-referenced Policy, neighborhoods cannot necessarily “impose upon themselves” an all-way stop if those streets carry a fair amount of non-neighborhood traffic. Other considerations come into play.
The OoTE will endeavor to consider community input when the situation is clearly internal to the community. We will not, however, base our decision solely on community petition or vote, but rather on a fair review of the greater issue as it pertains to our consistent practices and justification of the request.
Excerpt From Article In February 1995 ‘Better Roads’ Magazine
When and When Not to Use Stop Signs
By Steve Barber
Do you use stop signs correctly? Stop signs are one of the most common traffic signs and also one of the most misused. A stop sign is intended to assign right-of-way at intersecting street locations. Stop signs are often mistakenly placed in an effort to control speed on local streets. Many believe that forcing motorists to stop at each intersection will decrease overall speed on the road. However, studies show that stop signs only reduce speed immediately adjacent to the sign. Most drivers accelerate between stop signs to make up for time lost at the stop sign. Engineering studies indicate that the inappropriate installation of extra stop signs may cause additional problems such as more rear-end collisions, a redistribution of traffic onto side streets, and drivers ignoring the inappropriate stop signs.
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