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Stop signs are not always appropriate

I was wandering the back streets of Medford and came to the intersection of Ridge Way and Berkeley Way, a four-way intersection. The signage there is something I have not seen before. On Ridge Way, there are yield signs and street markings. Why? It seems a strange choice. Stop signs seem more appropriate given the configuration of the intersection.

— Carl B., Medford

Some folks don’t notice traffic signs while driving let alone during a walk. Thank you, Carl, for your keen eye and inquisitiveness.

A lot of time and research goes into deciding which road signs are appropriate for different types of intersections. The Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) section 1A.06 says in part, “…a standard device used where it is not appropriate is as objectionable as a non-standard device; in fact, this might be worse, because such misuse might result in disrespect at those locations where the device is needed and appropriate.”

“Public Works uses an MUTCD warrants analysis at intersections to determine if no sign, a yield sign or a stop sign is warranted at a location. The MUTCD is a national standard. The goal is that no matter where you drive in the United States, the traffic markings are consistent,” says Cory Crebbin, Medford's director of Public Works.

According to Crebbin, the intersection of Ridge Way and Berkeley Way warrants a yield sign. This was decided using an analysis of speeds, volumes, sight distances, crash history, etc.

“We do not place stop signs at unwarranted locations because we want drivers to stop at the signs where they are needed,” says Crebbin.

And SYA agrees. Whether the sign demands you yield or stop, just know an extensive amount of research was completed to ensure the safest road conditions possible.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.