City sees increase in stop sign requests for neighborhoods

Over the past couple of years, Seymour City Hall has received an increasing number of requests from citizens for stop signs in busy neighborhoods to help slow speeding traffic.

Each request is forwarded to the city council’s thoroughfare committee to study. That committee is chaired by Councilman Brian D’Arco. Afterward, the committee makes a recommendation on whether the new signage should go up.

More often than not, the requests are denied.

That’s because putting up new stop signs can cause more problems than they solve, city officials said.

City engineer Nathan Frey said he doesn’t keep track of the number of requests made.

“However, the frequency does seem to be increasing,” he said.

Frey provides information in line with the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to the thoroughfare committee for them to use when making a decision.

“There are a few criteria that needs to be met,” Frey said of putting up traffic signs. “We look at accident history, the classification of the two intersecting roads, volume and speed of traffic as well as sight distance while sitting in a car behind the stop bar at an intersection.”

Every time a request for a 4-way stop is made, Frey conducts a new traffic study to provide up-to-date traffic volumes and speeds, he said.

The city has purchased traffic counters to put in the road to determine how heavy traffic flow is at intersections, how fast vehicles are traveling and what direction they are going.

“In general, routes that have a classification of arterial or collector should have fewer stops than those classified as local routes,” Frey said. “We want to maintain both safety and mobility of the traveling public.”

An arterial road is a high-capacity road that delivers traffic from collector roads to major thoroughfares such as highways and interstates. Collector roads are low to moderate capacity and move traffic from local streets to arterial roads.

Frey said in most cases, the request for a stop sign is to control traffic.

“However, if placed in the wrong locations, a stop condition may be as dangerous as a through intersection,” he said. “Also, placing stop signs on higher classifications of roads impedes mobility, increasing travel time and reducing efficiency.”

Councilman John Reinhart said if there is not a study that shows an intersection is dangerous, then a new stop sign is not needed.

“We should be trying to move traffic instead of stopping it at every street, and that’s what we’re slowly working towards is a stop sign everywhere,” he said. “Stop signs are not there to control speed.”

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.