Concerns about speeding in residential areas are a natural result of the dual role that neighborhood streets play in carrying motor vehicles as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. Unfortunately, all too often, speed limits are artificially lowered and unwarranted stop signs installed with the notion of reducing excessive vehicle speeds.
The installation of unwarranted stop signs or artificially low speed limits will not reduce excessive speeding. It will, instead, provide a false sense of security to pedestrians and motorists increasing the potential for accidents.
Will a stop sign slow traffic?
Local and national data conclude that stop signs do not reduce speeds beyond a 150- to 200-foot radius. Motorists often increase speed beyond this point with the notion of making up for lost time, and if unwarranted, more drivers will deliberately ignore stop signs or perform rolling stops. The bottom line is that unwarranted stop signs can instill a false sense of security, especially among neighborhood children, and often increase actual accident experience.
Multi-Way Stop Signs
Since multi-way stops are intended to provide safe and adequate gaps for vehicles to enter an intersection (when volumes on intersecting streets are in the range of 2,500 to 4,000 vehicles per day) they are rarely necessary in residential areas. Multi-way stop signs may also be warranted when line-of-sight distance on the street is less than desirable or when pedestrian crossing volumes are high.
Will drivers reduce their speed if limits are lowered?
Before-and-after studies from Illinois and across the country have concluded that artificially lowering speed limits has generally no effect on the speed at which motorists will actually drive, while making traffic law violators out of even the most careful drivers.
Repeatedly, speed studies indicate that most motorists (85%) will drive at a speed which is safe and reasonable. The modern practice of setting speed limits at this level has been shown in nationwide studies to result in the lowest level of accident experience.