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Fowler Road stop signs to stay
Speeds have dropped due to year-old stop signs
The stop signs installed last year on Fowler Road at Lunar Drive will stay put, the City Council determined on Monday. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier file photo

Video shot of vehicles failing to come to a complete stop at Fowler Road at Lunar Drive was used by Sherri Jacobson at the Monday City Council meeting in her push to have the stop signs removed. But the video - intended to "show the ineffectiveness of the stop signs" - actually backfired. Members said while "rolling" stops occur at virtually all intersections, Jacobson's video showed how traffic was being forced to curb speeding.

"This video was great to see," said Councilmember Linda Ryno, "because while people ... may not be coming to a complete stop ... but at least they're slowing down which, if I lived in the neighborhood, I'd be much happier than having them fly down the street."

Jacobson had protested the stop signs before they were installed outside her home and attended a Monday evening council Study Session to lobby against them a year after their installation. She complained that the stop signs mean the squeal of brakes and acceleration after the stop. Jacobson said motorists then speed up to "make up for lost time" from the signs. She cited the fact that in 2013 then City Engineer Toby Wells claimed there were no warrants for the stop sign and stated his belief that stop signs do not make for effective remedy for speeding.

"I think the information before you shows that the stop signs are ineffective and it's not serving as a traffic calming device and actually creates more harm than good," said Jacobson.

Now city manager, Wells said that a traffic study by Omni-Means has proven that the stop signs have effectively reduced speeds between Mitchell Road and Lunar Drive. Wells said he has observed that "folks generally come to mostly a stop but don't come to a complete stop." He said the stops have produced better results than he expected in terms of speed control.

Removing the stop signs a year later, said Wells, would likely cause problems and that speeds on Fowler Road would increase. Yanking the stops would also be "problematic" since those stopping on northbound Lunar Drive might forget that Fowler traffic no longer has to stop and pull out in front of it and be struck.

Wells said the city could further reduce speeds east of Lunar Drive by painting stripes on Fowler Road in such a way that motorists would perceive the road as narrower and thus drive slower.

Jacobson appeared to be outnumbered in her view of the stop signs.

Dave Pratt said while many do "California stops" at the three-way intersection "at least they slow down."

Ken Amaral, a 40-year Jupiter Court resident, said the stop signs are a success and said it has been effective in making the street safer.

Nola Calkins, a Uranus Drive resident, said she loves the signs, saying they slow down drivers who previously were a danger to kids who walk to nearby schools.

Roy Hawkins said "the stop signs have done wonders.

"We used to see the cars come by - I bet they were going almost 50 by the turns - and now that has just about stopped," said Hawkins.

Carol Dutra, a member of Jacobson's anti-Walmart group, Citizens for Ceres, who lives far from the neighborhood, said "I think it's about time that people get cited for breaking the law."

Wells said the city can be sued for anything but faces some level of liability for approving stop signs without the warrants but removing them would be equally risky.

City officials met with the neighborhood in late 2012 and heard of concerns about fast vehicles and launched an enforcement campaign. Police issued 52 traffic citations during a 40-day period, with all cited drivers traveling at least 10 mph faster than the 25mph speed limit.