July 26


BusesA school bus company is setting up a new facility in New Brighton at an abondoned lumber yard.  It's a good redevelopment in an industrial part of town.  The bus company had to apply for a permit and city staff brought up traffic as a possible issue.  I have a good relationship with the staff and they told the bus company they should give me a call.

I sorted through the details of the proposal and shared them with the county traffic engineer (the interseciton in question is the industrial park road's intersection with the regional county road).  Right now that intersection is side street stop sign controlled and the intersection a quarter of a mile to the north has all way stop sign control.  The all way stopped intersection is slated for a signal in about two years.

It turns out the outbound bus pattern will be about 90% turning right onto the county road, largely before 7 a.m.  And they leave over a couple of hour period – the approximately 80 buses don't all leave at the same time.  The buses coming and going throughout the rest of the day are dispersed.

I don't think there will be an operational problem and if there is the most logical solution would be stop signs.  Once the traffic signal goes in to the north, it will provide gaps in the traffic stream at this southern intersection.  

So instead of doing a several thousand dollar forecasting/capacity study, I laid out the above logic and proposed doing actual counts at the intersection of conceren the first week of school.  This is a much cheaper effort and the installation of a couple of stop signs can be done within a day of deciding to put them in.  The county's traffic engineer liked this approach.  

My philosophy leans towards the Minimum Effective Dosage – do the most effective thing to solve the problem and no more.  And if an improvement is in the gray area and is easy to implement, do it based on actual traffic conditions not forecasts.  But in this case I cost myself a couple of thousand dollars in engineering fees.  Oh well.

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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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