A drive into downtown Trail may look a little different come Tuesday when the city implements a four-way stop at the intersection of Bay Avenue and Farwell Street.
Converting the traffic signal to a four-way stop at the busiest intersection downtown is to be done on a trial basis while the city does a traffic study to monitor the results and observe driver compliance, according to city engineering technician John Howes.
“The peak hours are certainly stressful for anyone, but during some of those non-peak hours you’re sitting there at a light and there is no a vehicle or a pedestrian in sight so hence the whole four-way stop,” he explained.“I use the Baker Street intersection in Nelson as a prime example of where a four-way stop works because that is a very busy intersection and once everyone knows the sequence, you know you yield to the person on the right, it’s a 10-second stop.”
A previous traffic study referenced in the Downtown Plan reviewed the options of converting the traffic signals in the downtown core into four-way stop controlled intersections.
The two internal intersections of Bay/Farwell and Cedar/Farwell were evaluated to test the viability and the city decided to go forward with one temporary change at this time.
Strategic lane markings, barriers and stop signs will be installed in all directions and in order to eliminate potential confusion, existing traffic heads will be bagged.
The city has budgeted $30,000 for this project, which includes a detailed traffic engineer study. Trail plans on monitoring the traffic signal configuration over the next several months.
Advantages of converting the traffic signals to four-way stops are:
· Potentially can reduce delays to traffic on certain approaches as all approaches are treated equally.
· Can potentially give the feel of a traffic calmed environment when compared to a traffic signal by creating a sense of security for pedestrians which may lead to a more walkable environment.
· Less maintenance cost than traffic signals.
· Four way Stops are estimated to have an overall intersection capacity of 1900-1550 vehicles per hour
Disadvantages of converting the traffic signals to four-way stops are:
· Pedestrians may be more at-risk as they rely on drivers to comply with the stop sign.
· There might be an increase of rear-enders and/or intersection collisions.