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Revised and re-posted with clarification at the end
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The topic is the  excess and counter productive nature of multi-way stop signs.  These are often installed due to intense local pressure on the council in the face of being unsupported by quantitative analysis by the staff. The procedure to determine whether such signage is appropriated is called "warrants" looking at a minimum number of the secondary vehicles, bikes and pedestrians who must wait for an opening, compared to the traffic on the primary street.   Here are some excerpts from the Ohio department of traffic from their two page article "Myth v. Reality " that explores this issue.

Unwarranted stop signs create problems at both
the intersection and along the roadway by:

Encouraging motorists to drive faster between
intersections in order to save time. Placing
stop signs on every low-volume local street pro-
motes speeding between the stop signs as
drivers try to offset the delays caused by stop-
ping at every intersection;

Encouraging violation of traffic laws. As the
number of stop signs increase so that nearly
every intersection has one, the rate of stop sign
violations tends to increase;

Encouraging the use of alternate routes.
Placing too many stop signs in some area

It's an uphill battle to change current public misconceptions, and meaningful change will have to be at the state and federal level.  One of many answers is found in the Missouri Traffic code , section 304351- that defines Yield and Stop Signs:

(a) (Stop Signs)  Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic-control signal, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection, indicated by a stop sign, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic in the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection.  After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on the highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when such driver is moving across or within the intersection.

      (b) (Yield Signs) The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall in obedience to the sign slow down to a speed reasonable to the existing conditions and, if required for safety to stop, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway.  After slowing or stopping the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time such traffic is moving across or within the intersection.
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With Yield on Primary streets complemented by Stop on secondary streets, these definitions above define what actually is now happening in California and many places across the country, but it is now illegal.  This is done by over 90% of drivers for the reason that it is rational and safe, yet it is both a moving violation where currently there is a Stop sign rather than a Yield on the primary street.

I currently am on my City's Traffic Commission and hope to leverage this to try to change current state and federal law that fosters the counterproductive signage that we are now limited to.  In effect 95% of drivers on a primary street with multi-way stop signs are following the Missouri definition of "Yield."  

I'm re-posting with this clarification from comment question by someone who said he would be confused, by not knowing what signage is controlling the cross street.  My response :

Right now "multi-way" Stop signs have tags on them saying this, which indicates that everyone will be stopping and the priority is based on first to the intersection with tie going to right.  Of course, it is negotiated often by movement of each car as a signal, as the car that is moving along faster is given access for the few moments and then the other goes through.  

In your query example, the tag in the proposed modification of Yield on Primary and Stop on secondary would tell you that the secondary road vehicle is stopping (this procedure  will eliminate the "roll throughs" I have advocated to be legal for stop signs as an interim measure.  

I now realize that this has been a work in progress, and that if we were to adopt the Yield sign on primary, and Stop on secondary, it would mean that the Stop sign really enforced as full stop.

I have presented two alternatives which are inconsistent between them.  

The first proposal is to acknowledge the current reality of Stop signs being treated by drivers as the tantamount to Yield signs defined by the Missouri code in the text.

The second, more difficult to achieve,  is that there be the two different signs on Primary and secondary roads, in which case the secondary would actually stop.  Since there are many fewer of these vehicles by definition, it would provide a net savings of wasted driver time, and hypothetically be safer than the current system.  

The first step in making either change is to alter the term  "Rolling Stops" or "Running a Stop Sign," which under current signage, I argue is usually the reasonable action of safe drivers.

Originally posted to ARODB on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 04:42 PM PDT.

Poll

The term to replace "Rolling Stops"

9%2 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
9%2 votes
18%4 votes
63%14 votes

| 22 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's encouraging bad behavior... (0+ / 0-)

    ...to attempt to counteract a bad political decision.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 10:23:18 AM PDT

    •  but breaking the law is occuring by the millions.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sawgrass727

      The Yield on the primary street is what is now happening by my observations.  And people do seem to navigate without rancor.

      Bad drivers will continue to be irresponsible, it's true.  But we won't be stigmatizing, and punishing those that are driving carefully, slowing based on conditions as described in the Yield description in the Mo Code.

      will be out for a couple hours and then continue with our discussion as I value your expertise.  

      Oh, a tough political decision, yes.  But I feel it will ultimately be advantagious

      AR

      •  It doesn't make it right... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and it gives another easy out for politicians to make it look like they've "done something". If you employ traffic engineers, and the engineers say only put up the STOP signs on this street, then you should have the spine to listen to the engineers, and not encourage people to consider STOP signs to be YIELD signs.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 10:38:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My suggestion is not to encourage Stop signs... (0+ / 0-)

          considered as Yield signs, but to acknowledge this is an actuality on primary streets now, with or without anyone's encouragement.

          I'm suggesting that those Stop signs be changed to Yield signs, which would only have the effect of acknowledging what is being done by 90 plus percent of drivers, and not make it an option for a ticketing blitz that will alienate them from law enforcement among the pathologies excerpted in my text.  

          If I'm wrong and this has a negative effect on Traffic safety this could be tested by prototypes in advance.  I believe the evidence is there that this simple change in signage, with an educational program to clarify the meaning would be a net gain.  I also would investigate whether this change would replace certain roundabouts as the driving dynamics would be similar, with less confusion.

  •  Unclear about a couple of things (0+ / 0-)

    Are there cases with an intersection that has both Yield and Stop signs?  

    I'm a prudent driver but I think I would be confused by that one.  If I'm on the Primary and approaching an intersection where I have a Yield and a driver also approaching the intersection on the Secondary has a Stop, I would be confused.  I would slow to yield but that driver must come to a full stop...but how do I  know whether the driver is stopping or just slowing?  The current use of "Yield" suggests to me that I have secondary right of way to other traffic...but that's not the case here.  I don't think.  As I watch the other driver slow down, I'd probably slow down to a full stop too.   Then who has the right of way when we're both stopped?

    •  The MUTCD does not explicitly prohibit... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arodb

      ...YIELD signs being used on one street of an intersection, but does on all approaches of the intersection ( see here). In my 27+ years as a traffic engineer, I don't think I've ever seen an intersection so signed, but I admit that my experience has been limited to Chicago and its environs.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 10:59:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A four-way yield would be the same as (0+ / 0-)

        an uncontrolled intersection, but those are just games of chicken (outside dense urban areas).

        Why not paint a dot in the middle and call it a mini-roundabout?

        warning: snark probably above

        by NE2 on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:37:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The City does put small islands... (0+ / 0-)

          ...in the middle of residential street intersections, but they call it "traffic calming".

          Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

          by JeffW on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 01:34:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  This happens all the time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego

      where a bike path crosses a road. They put stop signs on the bike path and paint a crosswalk across the road (which means yield to anyone in the crosswalk). It works as well as you might imagine.
      http://commuteorlando.com/... (particularly slide 26)

      warning: snark probably above

      by NE2 on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:42:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I see your confusion...... (0+ / 0-)

      Right now multi-way Stop signs have tags on them saying this, which indicates that everyone will be stopping and the priority is based on first to the intersection with tie going to right.  Of course it is negotiated, as the car that is moving along faster is given access for the second or so and then the other goes through.  

      In your description, the tag would tell you that the secondary road vehicle is stopping (this will eliminate the "roll throughs for stop signs.  

      I realize that this has been a work in progress, and that if we were to adopt the Yield sign on primary, and Stop on secondary, it would mean that the Stop sign really means stop.

      I have presented two alternatives which are inconsistent between them.  

      The first is to acknowledge the current reality of Stop signs being treated by drivers as the same as Yield.

      The second is that there be the two different signs on Primary and secondary roads, in which case the secondary would actually stop.  Since there are many fewer of these it would be a net savings of wasted driver time, and hypothetically safer than the current system.  

  •  What's dumb (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, AaronInSanDiego

    Is having different rules if you drive across a state line.  We should have uniform traffic laws in the US.  Contrary to what some people think, we're not 51 countries.  I'm just glad Texas hasn't decided that Stop signs should look like yellow roses instead of red octagons.  

    N.B.  In most states you can enter an intersection on a yellow light provided you're  through it by the time it turns red.  In Oregon, that can get you a $200 ticket.  

    I'm still mad about Nixon.

    by J Orygun on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:32:07 AM PDT

  •  Show me someone who understands (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen, AaronInSanDiego

    what an unmarked crosswalk is and I'll show you someone who may be responsible enough to roll through a stop.

    warning: snark probably above

    by NE2 on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:11:34 PM PDT

  •  question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eagleray
    ● Encouraging the use of alternate routes.
    Explain how this is a bad thing?  Generally you should always be trying to get to a highway as quickly as possible, and stay on highways as long as possible.  You shouldn't be cutting through residential areas with lots of stop signs just to save a couple of minutes.

    Most residential roads around here have 2-way stop signs alternating every other block.

  •  In Colorado, some towns use roundabouts. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, arodb, eagleray, AaronInSanDiego

    They are, IMHO, completely superior to 4-way stops, and can be used in most cases in place of them.

    You don't have to stop - the roundabout generally has yield signs, so cars have to yield right-of-way to people already in the roundabout. You usually cruise right through them, only slowing down a bit.

    They're safer, and handle far more traffic without gridlock.

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