The purpose of a STOP sign is to assign right of
way at intersections that are not busy enough to justify the installation a
traffic signal. It is not intended to be used as a traffic
calming device and is not used to control speed.
Recently, City traffic engineers reviewed multiple studies which
determined that multi-way stop signs do not typically control traffic
speeds. Instead, they can create liability issues, traffic noise,
pollution, enforcement problems and poor stop compliance when
drivers believe the signs have no justification.
Fifteen studies found
that unwarranted multi-way stops increased speeding away from
intersections because motorists try to regain lost time spent at stop signs
they deem unnecessary.
In addition, multi-way stop signs impose higher
vehicle operating costs, longer travel times, excessive fuel consumption and
increased vehicle emissions. Engine exhaust, brake, tire and aerodynamic
noise may increase when cars brake and then accelerate to speed.
Researchers also discovered that pedestrian
safety, especially that of small children, may sometimes be
decreased. Pedestrians expect vehicles to stop, but many
drivers run the “unnecessary” signs.
Finally, where unwarranted multi-way stops have been removed with
public support, compliance at justified stop signs has improved.