January 28


A stop sign for every corner????

By Mike Spack

January 28, 2008

As my high school drivers ed teacher Mr. Shrake told me – when in doubt, yield to the car on your right.   He also taught us to drive at or below the speed limit.  These are actually laws.  Pretty straightforward, yet there is a segment of our population who don’t get it.  Turkeyhillc04022005b_2
In neighborhoods, some cities have chosen to put two way stop control at alternating intersections (jargon:  basketweave) to bring more order.  St. Paul and Minneapolis jumped on this bandwagon about a decade ago. 
John Maczko (St. Paul’s city engineer) told me this had a positive effect right when they put up the signs.  Speeds dropped and crash rates dropped in the neighborhoods.  He also told me these gains were eroded after a decade – speeds and crashes have slowly climbed back to original rates. 

The city of Richfield did an about face on their stop sign policy.  They used to be hardcore against proliferating stop signs, but now they are implementing the basketweave through the city.   The news made the Star & Tribune (article).  The city did a year long trial and found motorists speeds were down 64% of the time and crashes were cut in half.  I hope they do a long term study.  It would be nice to know if the benefits are short lived or long lived.  If I head to bet my lucky silver dollar, I would lean towards a short term gain like St. Paul experienced.   I am a minimalist when it comes to traffic control, but I am willing to change my mind if Richfield has long term success.

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Mike Spack

My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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