I blogged a year ago about the City of Richfield’s policy
implementing a modified basketweave stop sign system.
I was curious to find out how the policy has been working after a year of
implementation. Tom Foley, Richfield’s
Transportation Engineer, was kind enough to do an interview with me. Following is our question and answer:
Q – Have you collected
any further data on the stop sign policy now that it has been in place for
about a year?
A- We have implemented the new policy in only one-third of
the city. It will take another two years before stop signs are installed
citywide. We have not had a chance to
collect data on speeds and crashes in the new neighborhoods that had stop signs
installed in 2008. This will be done in 2009.
Q – Has the policy
made your job easier or has it complicated it?
A – The data collection of residential speed data has
required increased Engineering staff time. Also, there have been a number of
requests that the stop signs be reconfigured at specific intersections. We have
had complaints that the new stop sign pattern has increased speeds on east-west
streets. We have explained that data collection is needed to document the
effect on speeding. We have had one complaint that a resident has lost
on-street parking due to state law prohibiting cars from parking closer than 30
feet from a stop sign. In one way it has
made my job easier. Residents who want stop signs are willing to wait for their
neighborhood to receive them.
Q – What things would
you change in the policy?
A – I am satisfied with the policy. However, I would
encourage other cities to offer this approach on a neighborhood by neighborhood
basis. In other words, as residents request stop signs, I would ask the entire
neighborhood if they want them. If they do, then you would offer them the
pattern as we have proposed it, or the traditional basketweave pattern as
another alternative. One of our biggest concerns was that the placement of stop
signs appeared haphazard to many drivers. This could lead to crashes based on
motorists thinking that all intersections are stop controlled, when, in fact,
they are not. Emphasizing consistent traffic control at the neighborhood level
will improve safety.
Q – Any advice for
other traffic engineers looking at implementing the modified basketweave?
A – I would say that Richfield’s experience can be useful if
another city is thinking of adding stop signs in residential areas. Richfield
is predominantly designed with a grid pattern for its residential streets. Our
findings are most suitable for other cities with a similar grid pattern street
network. Using before and after speed/crash data is helpful in evaluating the
effectiveness of any traffic control system in residential areas. We benefited
from using our Geographic Information System (GIS) to sort and analyze a large
amount of data. We also found that there was very little useful research literature
available on traffic issues involving residential streets. What we did was give transportation engineers
another option in dealing with residential traffic control. This modified basketweave
option should be considered in addition to the traditional basketweave stop