The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council delayed a decision Tuesday, Feb. 15 on whether to install three-way stop signs at E Road and 23rd Court North until it can get a traffic study to determine whether stop signs are warranted there.
Public Works Director Larry Peters said the location has been mentioned in the past and recommended that any time someone requests alteration to intersections, such as a three-way stop sign, a traffic engineer should do a study.
“This type of study is what we call a warrant,” Peters said. “They investigate to see how many accidents were there and the number of people on that third lane, and they do a proper traffic study. What I’m asking is in the future, we agree that if anyone were to come up with this, we do a traffic study to justify a three-way stop.”
He said there are multiple three-way stops in the community that have been put up without warrants. “We should have a traffic study each time one comes up,” Peters said.
Joannie Hopkins, who resides on 23rd Court North, said she was one of the residents who requested the three-way stop.
“Like you said, there are several in this town that are at other intersections,” Hopkins said, adding that one of the biggest issues is the line of sight when entering the intersection. “Yes, this is a side road, but people are racing down the road now because it is paved. Even with the two little mirrors there, it is really hard to see.”
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia said she felt if a neighborhood requests a three-way stop, they should be able to come to the council to request a review by staff.
“I don’t see the reason to spend the money on the engineering and the traffic,” Maniglia said.
She asked if a stop sign could cause an accident, and Peters said not having a warrant for a sign could open the town to a lawsuit.
Vice Mayor Laura Danowski said she uses the intersection frequently and has problems with the line of sight when trying to enter E Road.
“I’m not overly enthused about a study, but if it provides us some sort of working platform, I’ll ponder it,” she said.
Councilwoman Marianne Miles said there are many areas in town that have line-of-sight issues.
“I’ve been saying that since before I sat on the council,” Miles said. “I would come out of different roads in Loxahatchee Groves, and you can’t see north and south coming out on the main roads.”
She was also concerned about drivers on a main road coming to a stop sign with a driver behind them who does not see the stop sign yet, and rear-ends the driver in front, pushing them into the canal.
“I hate to use the word thoroughfare, but that’s what our roads are,” Miles said, adding that she felt one of the big problems was landowners staking their property to the edge of the intersection so that a line of sight could not be established. “I would really like to address the bigger picture of that, doing a study, than sticking three-way stops all over Loxahatchee Groves, because if we do it for one or two, we’re going to have a lot of them, and it’s not going to solve the issue that I feel we have.”
Councilwoman Marge Herzog was concerned about liability to the town if unwarranted signs are put up. Peters said he did not have data to show how many signs had been put in the community without a warrant.
Mayor Robert Shorr said that the town should get a traffic engineer for a basic understanding on stop signs.
“If they can come present at our meeting of what does warrant it,” Shorr said. “There are situations where there’s a telephone pole there, and we’re not going to be able to move it, or maybe there is a big tree, and we want to save our large trees. I think it’s key that we understand from a traffic engineer what does warrant a stop sign.”
Maniglia asked if the council could ask the town’s traffic engineer, Simmons & White, if it has done traffic studies for the town.
“They have been our engineers for a really long time,” she said. “They have done many road studies. I would suggest asking them if they have already done the work.”
The council agreed by consensus to delay erecting stop signs at E Road and 23rd Court North until it hears a report from the traffic engineer and a report on liability questions regarding unwarranted stop signs.