A STOP sign is one of the most valuable and effective traffic control devices when used at the right location and under the right conditions. The purpose of the STOP sign is to clearly assign right-of-way between vehicles approaching and intersection from different directions. The STOP sign requires the driver to STOP the vehicle before entering the intersection, yield to any traffic in or approaching the intersection and then proceed when SAFE to do so.
One common misuse of STOP signs is to arbitrarily interrupt through traffic, either by causing it to stop, or by causing such an inconvenience as to force traffic to use other routes. When misused, the STOP sign can create an inconvenient, and even dangerous situation for motorists and pedestrians. Drivers are more likely to intentionally violate unwarranted signs. Research has shown where STOP signs are installed when unwarranted or as "speed control devices" it does not have the desired effect. Speeds between the STOP signs increase as drivers tend to make up for lost time. Drivers tend to roll through the unwarranted STOP signs with higher frequency. Traffic collisions at unwarranted STOP controlled intersections are often higher than when the intersection was uncontrolled or two-way STOP controlled. There is also an increase in noise and air pollution levels to nearby residents as a result of vehicles braking and accelerating.
STOP signs cannot be viewed as a cure-all for solving safety problems, but, when properly located , they can be a useful traffic control device to enhance safety for all roadway users.
In general, STOP signs should only be used where traffic engineering studies considering such factors as traffic speeds, traffic volumes, restricted sightlines, and collision experience indicate that the application of STOP signs are warranted.
Written requests for multi-way stop signs should be forwarded to the Transportation Division of the Engineering Department for evaluation.