16 September 2008

4 Way Stops Better than Signals

Downtown, we have had no interruption in our phone, natural gas or electric. The water pressure seems to have dropped slightly, and apparently Time Warner Cable is out, but otherwise everything is has been operating fine downtown. Therefore I was a bit surprised to see the total outages when I made a venture out Monday. Luckily I got gas at my regular place on West 8th, because most places were closed in the burbs.

I continue to be fascinated to find that traffic seems to flow fine without traffic lights. I got through all the lights I needed to go through faster when they were functioning as a 4-way stop than I did when they have traffic signals. Of course this would not be true of the busiest, 6-lane intersections, but for your typical 2-lane crossroads, a 4-way stop makes a lot of sense.

There is a movement to remove traffic signals and lines, and it has been successfully implemented in several European cities. Meanwhile, if this subject interests you, see this discussion where it is claimed that 4-way stops are the absolute safest intersection, and that Columbus is considering replacing many signals with stop signs.

BTW, did you know there are over 100 fatal car accident every day in this country?

Also, see this site which compiles average time wasted in traffic.


Morris said...

It's been pretty chaotic for me when I encounter street lights for intersections with more than two lanes. It's pretty frightening that people don't understand the concept of 4-way stops when the street signs are out.

CityKin said...

Don't you take turns... You go after the guy on your left? Even when people don't follow that rule, they seem to all get through the intersection without much waiting, and definitely without any accidents.

Anonymous said...

I would seriously be worried about Cincinnati drivers and how they would react to having streets and four way stops. I believe that over time we would get used to them and things would flow smoothly. For now I believe this would cause mass confusion and longer delays as people in Cincinnati don't really pay enough attention while driving. Four way stops work really well in Philadelphia where the vast majority of their intersections are four way stops. It safer for pedestrians, bikes and other motorists.

Quimbob said...

My sister told me she was driving behind a guy, tonight, who just blew through every stoplight like it wasn't there.
She said he was eventually stopped by a sheriff.

ekalb said...

Driving through Newport with stop signs at every intersection drives me crazy. I definitely would hate to have 4-way stop signs. I would prefer yellow flashing lights at intersections and red ones for busy intersections. One of the benefits of living downtown is that you can figure out the sequence of the lights and drive without stopping for many blocks.