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Public understanding of the function of stop signs is one of the most critical elements in reducing speeding and traffic accidents. The following information explains the City of Eureka’s policy on intersection traffic controls and the correct use of stop signs:
Q: What is the purpose of a stop sign?
A: The stop sign is used to assign right-of-way at an intersection and to make sure that traffic flows smoothly and predictably.
Q: Will a stop sign reduce speeding in my neighborhood?
A: Because a stop sign is used to assign right-of-way at an intersection, it is not an effective means to control speeding. Research shows that where stop signs are installed as "deterrents" or "speed breakers," there are high incidences of intentional violations resulting in accidents.
When vehicles must stop, the speed reduction is only near the stop sign, and drivers tend to speed up between stop sign controlled intersections.
Q: Will increasing the use of stop signs in my neighborhood better control traffic?
A: As with any traffic control device, overuse of stop signs will cause many drivers to ignore them, creating a more hazardous situation, especially in low volume areas, such as residential neighborhoods.
Because a stop sign causes a substantial inconvenience to motorists, it should be used only where needed. Studies have shown that, sometimes, after installing a stop sign there is an increase in rear-end collisions. Also, the stop sign may cause such an inconvenience that traffic detours through residential streets, parking lots, etc. to avoid the stop sign.
A little known fact is that the "stop and go traffic" resulting from the placement of stop signs will increase carbon dioxide emissions, thereby further impacting the air quality in your area.
Q: How can I get a stop sign on my street?
A: The City’s Traffic/Signals Division evaluates an intersection, following State and Federal guidelines, to ensure uniformity in traffic control. The survey includes reviewing the following criteria:
Experience has shown that improving the intersection visibility by prohibiting parking near the intersection or removing other sight distance obstructions, is often more effective in reducing traffic accidents.
Q: What are the uses for multi-way and two-way stop signs?
A: Ordinarily, a multi-way stop sign should be used only where the volume of traffic is nearly equal on both intersecting roads. In situations where the volume is extremely heavy, a traffic light is more effective. Also, a multi-way stop sign is often used at an intersection where signals are urgently needed, but have not yet been installed. The multi-way sign can be installed quickly to control traffic while arrangements are being made for the signal installations.
Two-way stop control is used in areas where one street has a much higher traffic volume than the street it intersects.
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