Stop signs assign the right-of-way to various traffic movements within an intersection. Before installing a new stop sign at an intersection or converting a two-way stop into a multi-way stop, established minimum warrants must be satisfied. Athens-Clarke County complies to the warrants set by The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which is published by The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Traffic and pedestrian volumes, accident history, and/or unusual conditions must be satisfied or present at the intersection before a stop sign may be considered. Once the stop sign is under consideration the installation must first be approved by The Mayor and Commission and funding be in place.
Unwarranted or inappropriately placed stop signs can:
* Increase traffic delay, speed and congestion with little or no gain in safety. In fact, safety is sometimes reduced.
* Frustrate and anger motorists, who may divert to less suitable streets.
* Reduce the credibility of stop signs and cause them to be ignored.
Although the physical installation of a stop sign is relatively inexpensive, studies have shown that there are "associated" costs involved which must also be considered:
* The sign must be maintained after installation.
* Extra fuel is consumed when vehicles stop and then re-accelerate - 24 hours per day.
* Extra fuel consumption also leads to increased air pollution. Stopping 5,000 vehicles
per day generates 15 tons of additional pollutants per year.
A common reason for requesting an all-way stop is to encourage speeding drivers to slow down. It is important to note that Section 2B.04, Paragraph 05 of the MUTCD states: “YIELD or STOP signs should not be used for speed control.” Installation of an all-way stop intersection solely to slow traffic would constitute a violation of 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 655, Subpart F and will not be considered. The FHWA based this decision on a large volume of research, some of which is available online, which indicates that:
• All-way stops do not control speeds except under very narrow conditions, and
• Drivers learn to ignore unwarranted stop signs risking similar behavior at other intersections.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUT