Tuesday, December 4, 2012

4-way Stops and Common Sense

One of the interesting things about common sense is that it often finds itself at odds with facts. This is especially true when it comes to urban issues. Unfortunately politicians sometime pander to common sense logic instead of basing their decisions on facts. A perfect example of this presented itself at the Township of Langley November 26th Afternoon Council Meeting.

Township Council passed a motion at the September 17th Evening Council Meeting to have staff look at installing a 4-way stop at 197 Street and Wakefield Avenue due to public concerns about speeding and rat-running. There are three common sense ideas that this motion used: 4-way stops makes intersections safer, handle traffic better, and reduce speeding. Reality dictates otherwise.

According to research:

-Safety of pedestrians is decreased at unwarranted multi-way stops especially small children due to non-compliance with the Stop sign.
-Stop signs do not significantly change the safety of the intersection. Stop signs are installed with the anticipation that they will make intersection and neighbourhood safer.
-Multi-way stops do not control speeds.
-Unwarranted multi-way stops may present potential liability problems for undocumented exceptions to accepted warrants. Local jurisdictions feel they may be incurring higher liability exposure by “violating” the MUTCD. Many times the unwarranted stop signs are installed without a warrant study or some documentation.
-Speeding problems are associated with “through” traffic. Frequently homeowners feel the problem is created by “outsiders.” Many times the problem is the person complaining or their neighbour.

Reading into the research a bit further, it shows that stops signs when used as speed control devices actually increase speeding. The most interesting thing for me is that people commonly blaming “the other” for everything wrong with their community instead of realizing that we collectively part of the problem and can be collectively part of the solution.

Over the years, I’ve come to question common sense logic because more often than not it is based on assumptions and not research.

1 comment:

neil21 said...

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