When used under the
right circumstances, the stop sign is one of our most valuable and effective
traffic control devices. It is intended to help drivers and
pedestrians determine who has the right-of-way at intersections.
Stop signs are often misused to arbitrarily interrupt traffic, which often
causes drivers to use alternate routes. In these areas where stop signs are
used as "nuisances" or "speed breakers," there are typically high incidences of
intentional violations. Drivers also tend to speed between intersections where
stop signs are continuously placed. For these reasons, the stop sign should not
be used as a speed-control device.
A school crossing may appear
dangerous for children to use, causing parents to demand that a stop sign be
placed in the location. This scenario may cause as many problems as it solves.
With the addition of stop control, a vehicle that had been a problem for three
seconds while approaching and passing the intersection is a problem for a longer
A situation of indecision is created as the pedestrian
doesn't know when to cross and the motorist doesn't know when to start. Normal
gaps in traffic, through which crossings could be made safely, no longer exist.
An intersection, which was not previously busy, now operates like a major
intersection even though it really isn't. Studies have shown that the addition
of stop signs at such an intersection does not improve safety for the
Most drivers do not intend to maliciously violate
traffic regulations; however, the imposition of an unreasonable restriction may
result in flagrant violations. In such cases, the stop sign can create a false
sense of security for a pedestrian and an attitude of contempt for a motorist.
These attitudes often conflict with tragic results.
Well-developed, nationally-recognized guidelines help to
indicate when stop control is necessary. These guidelines take into
consideration, among other things:
- The probability of
vehicles arriving at an intersection at the same time.
- The length of
time traffic must wait to enter.
- The availability of safe crossing
POLICY ON STOP SIGN
The City installs stop signs based on criteria defined in
the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Traffic on state highways,
arterial and major collectors will only be stopped by traffic signals.
Two-way and one-way stop signs are primarily installed to safely
assign right-of-way. Other considerations are drainage dips, sight distance
restrictions, school pedestrian crosswalk locations and accident history.
Four-way signs are not installed to control speeds. These stops may
be installed on collector street intersections and on intersections of collector
and local streets depending on volumes, sight distance, accident history, school
crosswalks and pedestrian usage.