The Greensboro Department of Transportation (GDOT) receives many requests throughout the year to modify traffic operations along residential streets. Specifically, many residents request the placement of multi-way stop signs. In the past, GDOT has found that the guidelines for the placement of multi-way stops as defined in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) often require significantly higher traffic volumes than are experienced along typical residential streets in Greensboro.
- Multi-way stops may not necessarily reduce overall traffic volumes within a neighborhood area.
- Multi-way stops may not necessarily lower mid-block speeds along a street.
- Multi-way stops may reduce the through traffic volume along a particular residential street.
- Multi-way stops may break up the flow of traffic at an intersection, resulting in lower speeds near the intersection, and thus providing greater decision times to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
However, a new guideline in the MUTCD does allow the placement of multi-way stops along low volume streets to improve traffic operations. In an effort to be more flexible and responsive to citizen's requests for the placement of multi-way stops in residential areas, GDOT has developed a "Multi-way Stop Sign Installation Policy."
The City of Greensboro Multi-way Stop Sign Installation Policy is more specifically focused to residential areas than the guidelines identified in the MUTCD. This policy also places an upper limit on traffic volumes that must be present for consideration of a multi-way stop installation under this policy. Those streets that exceed this upper limit will only be considered for multi-way stops under the MUTCD criteria.
The policy states that, "Regulatory and warning signs should be used conservatively because these signs, if used to excess, tend to lose their effectiveness." To this end, GDOT has determined that consideration of traffic volumes (to discourage the installation of a multi-way stop at the intersection of a high volume and a low volume street), and stop sign spacing (to prevent excessive stopping along a single street) must be given to potential multi-way stop locations. These considerations are needed in order to preserve the driver compliance and effectiveness of stop signs within the City of Greensboro. In all cases, decisions regarding the installation of multi-way stop at an intersection will be made by GDOT based on engineering investigation and engineering judgment.
Guidelines for Determining Multi-Way Stop Locations
The Greensboro Department of Transportation has developed the following guidelines for use in its engineering investigation/judgment to determine where multi-way stops may be appropriate:
All major/minor thoroughfares, all NCDOT maintained roadways, and all other intersections with an intersection AADT > 3,500 vehicles per day.
- GDOT should use the guidelines set forth in current edition of the MUTCD, for all major/minor thoroughfares, NCDOT maintained roadways, and any other intersection with an Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) volume in excess of 3,500 vehicles per day. The December 2000 edition of the MUTCD provides the following criteria for these intersections:
- Where traffic control signals are justified, the multi-way stop is an interim measure that can be installed quickly to control traffic while arrangements are being made for the installation of the traffic control signal.
- A crash problem, as indicated by 5 or more reported crashes in a 12-month period that are susceptible to correction by a multi-way stop installation. Such crashes include right- and left-turn collisions as well as right-angle collisions.
- Minimum Volumes
- The vehicular volume entering the intersection from the major street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 300 vehicles per hour for any 8 hours of an average day, and
- The combined vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle volume entering the intersection from the minor street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 200 units per hour for the same 8 hours, with an average delay to minor-street vehicular traffic of at least 30 seconds per vehicle during the highest hour, but
- If the 85th-percentile approach speed of the major-street traffic exceeds 40 mph, the minimum vehicular volume warrants are 70 percent of the above values.
- Where no single criterion is satisfied, but where Criteria B, C.1, and C.2 are all satisfied to 80 percent of the minimum values. Criterion C.3 is excluded from this condition.
Any local and/or collector street maintained by the City of Greensboro with an AADT < 3,500 vehicles per day.
GDOT should consider the following guidelines when determining if a multi-way is appropriate at any intersection of local and/or collector streets maintained by the City of Greensboro with an intersection AADT of less than 3,500 vehicles per day. Note in the interest of overall public safety GDOT may qualify or disqualify any proposed location based on any one, or none of the guidelines listed below. Typically all of the following will be considered before a multi-way stop is installed:
- The presence of any non-removable sight obstruction problem at the intersection may necessitate the need to immediately install a multi-way stop.
- A speed limit of 25 MPH or 30 MPH must be in place before Multi-way stops will be considered along a non-stop street.
- The vehicular volume from either approach on the non-stopped street should not exceed 5 times the vehicular volume from any one approach on the existing stopped street.
- To prevent excessive stopping, an existing stop condition should not be located within 2 full block lengths (measured along the same side of the street when an offset or t-intersection is present) of a proposed stop condition. In instances of large block lengths, a proposed stop condition should not be located within 800 feet of an existing stop condition.
- The longest leg of the side street, or existing stopped street should extend at least 400 feet from the proposed multi-way intersection.
- Geometric design features of the roadway such as horizontal/vertical alignment, on-street parking, street widths, sidewalks, and building setbacks may also be considered.
- A positive petition of at least 67% of the property owners/residents along the existing non-stop street (as determined by GDOT) may be required, where appropriate. Those who sign the petition must agree to the placement of any needed stop signs, concrete islands, pavement markings, and advance-warning signs as determined by GDOT.