Hayden: No four-way sign needed at intersection

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HAYDEN — A traffic study found that there was not enough traffic, or risk, to warrant a four-way stop sign at the intersection of east Lacey Avenue and north Maple Street, said public works director Alan Soderling Tuesday night.

His multiway stop warrant analysis of Aug. 21 concluded that the requirements for installing a four-way stop sign at the intersection were not met. The city had carried out the analysis due to plentiful citizen concern about hazards at the intersection, wrote Soderling.

The speed limit is 25 miles per hour at the intersection. Currently a stop sign exists on Maple Street, which runs north-south and intersects the east-west Lacey Avenue.

Soderling’s analysis relied on criteria from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which governs the use of all traffic control devices in the nation. The MUTCD recommends using multiway stop signs only if an intersection meets at least one of the following criteria, or 80 percent of several of them.

The first criteria is if an intersection has seen five or more correctable crashes within a 12-month period. The second criteria for an intersection under 40 miles per hour is if it has a combined vehicular volume of at least 2,400 vehicles entering from the major street in its busiest eight hours, plus at least 1,600 trips entering from the minor street during the same eight-hour period. The third criteria is if the intersection has significant conflicts due to left turns.

Soderling reported to the council that the intersection only had four correctable crashes total during 2013-16, an average of one per year. Peak traffic on Lacey Avenue during its busiest eight hours was 147 vehicles, far below the minimum of 300 per hour, or 2,400 for an eight-hour period, he explained. Traffic counters were placed at the intersection from July 30 to August 2 of this year. There were no major delays for left-turn conflicts recorded at the intersection, and no major pedestrian conflicts observed or anticipated that can’t be controlled with other means, he added.

Council member Matt Roetter asked about the difficulty schoolchildren have walking along the route during the wintertime due to the absence of sidewalks and the presence of snow berms. Soderling said the city can either find a way to install sidewalks or focus on educating drivers to be safe around the kids.

Soderling said the line of sight to the west on Lacey Avenue has been improved by recent trimming, and in the next few weeks the line of sight to the east will be improved. He said he has taken this opportunity to discuss cleaning up shrubs and removing trees with landowners, and suggested the city consider a sightline easement to prevent deterioration of the line of sight in years to come.

In conclusion, Soderling did not recommend a four-way stop due to the intersection failing to meet the MUCTD criteria and due to the unintended consequences of unnecessary stop signs, such as people speeding between intersections and openly disobeying the stop sign.

Mayor Steve Griffitts said his close relatives lived near the intersection, but that they were persuaded by the logic of Soderling’s argument. He also thanked Soderling for doing a thorough analysis. Council members voted to accept Soderling’s findings.

Council members also gave the city’s parks, recreation, and community forestry commission permission to seek sponsorships for a junior disc golf course at Broadmoore Park. The 10-acre park currently has a playground, gazebo, volleyball court, and other amenities. By partnering with the Spokane-based U.S. Youth Disc Golf Association, commissioners plan to add a junior course open to beginners of all ages.

The course would be available to local schools, summer camps, families, and community events, said director of recreation Suzanne Cano.

The course is catered to beginners and includes measures to mitigate errant discs from flying into surrounding roads, said commission vice-chair Malea Sampsel. The YDGA will do the installation, she said.

The city was not asked for any funding. Commission members will seek $1,000 per hole sponsorships from local businesses.

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