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Stop Signs and Traffic Signals

INTRODUCTION

Each year, the Traffic Engineering Division receives many inquiries about installing stop signs or traffic signals as a way to reduce speeding.

However, research shows that other measures are often more effective than adding more stop signs or traffic signals. The purpose of stop signs and traffic signals is to assign right-of-way at an intersection, not to control speeding.

Public understanding of the function of stop signs and traffic signals is one of the most critical elements in reducing speeding and traffic accidents. The following information explains our policies on intersection traffic controls and the correct use of stop signs and traffic signals.

INSTALLATION POLICIES

The Federal "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" dictates the size, shape and color of all traffic signs. This manual has guidelines for installing signs and thus creates uniformity from state to state. The State of California has a similar "Traffic Manual" which is in keeping with the Federal Manual.

The City of Anaheim complies with the guidelines of the State Traffic Manual. In addition, the City of Anaheim had adopted policies for the installation of stop signs and traffic signals.

These policies identify specific traffic and pedestrian volumes, accident history, and any unusual conditions which must be present at the intersection before these traffic control devices may be installed.

Stop signs are installed at an intersection only after a careful engineering study of the existing condition indicates that their installation is appropriate.

Our experience has shown that simply improving the intersection visibility by prohibiting parking near the intersection is often more effective in reducing potential conflict points. This often reduces the need to install more restrictive intersection controls.

Overuse of stop signs reduces their effectiveness and if installed where not justified they are largely ignored by drivers who tend to speed up between stop sign controlled intersections rather than slow down.

The City of Anaheim primarily uses actuated signals which detect vehicles (including bicycles) and adjust the timing to optimize traffic flow at the intersection.

Along major arterials which have several traffic signals spaced at periodic intervals, the traffic signals are usually synchronized to provide coordinated movement along the major street.

Before installing a traffic signal at an intersection, established minimum warrants as established by the State of California Traffic Manual must be satisfied.

Our review includes an examination of:

      • The amount of vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

        • The need to provide interruption to the traffic flow for side street vehicles and pedestrians.

          • Special conditions such as hills and curves.

            • The accident history of the intersection.

            Over the past few years, the City has installed signals at the average of 2 per year. These signals are installed using various funding sources, including your tax dollars, developer fees, and special assessment fees. A new traffic signal costs in the range of $100,000 to $150,000. Therefore their installation must be carefully considered.

            CITIZEN CONCERN

            We take our role in solving traffic problems very seriously, yet the ultimate burden of safety rests with you, the motorist in Anaheim. Since we receive over 1,000 citizen requests per year, we cannot always investigate your request as quickly as we would like to. However, we will respond after carefully evaluating your request. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

            Other Traffic Safety Information brochures available:

            If you have any questions, requests or suggestions concerning traffic control, call the Traffic Engineering Division (714) 765-5183.