To the Editor:
Some people have questioned whether a new stop sign should be installed at the intersection of King Street and Dorchester Avenue. Most recently, a letter appeared in the Carlington Summit suggesting residents should consider petitioning the City for more stop signs along King Street.
I asked City staff to investigate Dorchester/King traffic patterns and determine whether installing a new stop sign will make this intersection safer. The findings clearly indicate the technical warrants to make this intersection an all-way stop are nowhere near to being fulfilled. Neither traffic volume, nor collision numbers are high enough to necessitate further controls.
The low number of collisions is an indication that traffic flows in the area are operating at an acceptable and safe manner. In circumstances like this where there are relatively low traffic volumes - particularly in cross street traffic - many drivers do not stop at the signs, reducing safety for all road users, including pedestrians.
Stop signs should also not be considered speed deterrents; their sole function is to control vehicle movements through intersections.
While it is distressing when a child, or anyone, is injured in accidents like the one that occurred in this intersection in February, we need to understand why these collisions happen. In this instance, the crash was a result of driver error. The driver went through an existing stop sign. Installing another stop sign in this intersection would not have prevented it.
Unfortunately, the former City of Ottawa had a history of knee-jerk reactions on this issue and several years back opted to install stop signs in unwarranted locations. Staff continues to receive a steady stream of complaints about these signs from local residents. Studies have also shown they don't work. On average, only about 10 per cent of drivers stop at these unwarranted locations, while approximately 15 per cent travel through at speeds exceeding 5 km/hr. The remaining drivers do “rolling stops” at speeds between one and five km/hr. Pedestrians are often ignored as motorists are intent on continuing through. This creates a serious safety issue, particularly when the right-of-way is not conceded to pedestrians.
The placement of an additional stop sign in the Dorchester/King intersection would create the safety concerns outlined above and is therefore not recommended.
Councillor, River Ward.