How are STOP sign locations determined?
Every year, the City of Springfield receives many citizen requests to install STOP signs in hopes of reducing speeding in their neighborhoods. However, STOP signs are not to be used as "speed breakers" because that leads to a higher number of intentional violations. Some residents also request STOP signs because traffic on a nearby street is so heavy, that they have a hard time turning onto that street. But STOP signs cannot be used to stop a busy street for a less busy one.
STOP signs are a traffic control device that assigns the right-of-way at intersections or where traffic is required to stop. National Standards have been established to determine where STOP signs may be placed. These standards are primarily based on traffic volume. An all-way STOP may be considered when traffic is approximately equally heavy on both streets (about 500 vehicles per hour entering the intersection for at least 8 hours of the day). Further considerations are limited sight distance and a crash history of five or more crashes per year.
Why is that so important? If a driver came to STOP sign, where there are rarely any vehicles approaching from the (minor) side street, that driver would be inclined to start running that stop sign - and eventually, other STOP signs as well. Overall compliance goes down and the intersection becomes more dangerous. Further, studies have shown that placing STOP signs do not significantly decrease speeds: Drivers that are inclined to speed will just accelerate harder to "make up for lost time".
How do I get a STOP sign installed to reduce crashes?
Sometimes over the years, traffic flow has increased or shifted and intersections need to be re-evaluated. Generally, at intersections, a with significantly more traffic would have the right-of-way and the less busy street would receive STOP signs. For a multi-way STOP, both streets must have a high amount of traffic that is almost equal. Otherwise drivers on the busier street will become frustrated often stopping for a street with no traffic and compliance goes down. At T- Intersections, Public Works generally does not place STOP signs, because by law, the traffic on the terminated streets needs to yield to traffic on the through-street. Public Works is following national standards: The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices that have been tested and proven. Uniformity across city limits and state lines is very important.
If you want to request an engineering study to determine the need for a stop sign or if you want to report or damaged or stolen STOP sign, please contact us here or call 864-1010.
If you want to learn about other measures to control speeds in neighborhoods, please follow this link.