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Ask the Chief: Stop signs serve a distinct purpose

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Q: How do I request a stop sign be added to a busy street in my neighborhood?

A: I would like to answer your question in three parts:

Part one is to identify the purpose of a stop sign.

The primary function of a stop sign is to indicate which vehicle has the right of way when regular rules of the road, sign obstructions or traffic volumes make this unclear, difficult and/or dangerous to determine.

Stop signs are not a traffic-calming device. National research continues to show that stop signs are not an effective tool for reducing traffic speed and, when placed incorrectly, can make intersections less safe.

Part two, why do you believe that this intersection requires a stop sign? Is the purpose for the sign to reduce speed or to control traffic flow?

If the purpose is to reduce speed then a stop sign may not be the solution for speed control. If the purpose is to control traffic flow, then a stop sign may be the solution for congestion.

Part three, what is the process to request a sign?

The Red Wing Police Department promotes safety in residential neighborhoods, and is a member of our city Complete Streets group. which consists of Engineering, Public Works and the Police Department. When a request for a stop is made to the City Engineer's Office, it will be brought before Complete Streets to discuss what is known about the intersection. If more data is needed, engineering will conduct a "speed survey," traffic count, and a clear view triangle survey.

The Police Department will contribute crash data for the intersection, and the group will then discuss the need for signage or other potential engineering solutions. The final recommendation is then proposed to the City Council for approval

Additional resources

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJjnoi1Wwzw

Manual Uniform Traffic: https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/

Clear View Triangle Survey: https://www.bloomingtonmn.gov/sites/default/files/53itriangle.pdf

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