Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Remove stop signs in City Beach neighborhood

| May 26, 2021 1:00 AM

I would like to address and question the reasoning behind the city’s recent addition of the many stop signs in the neighborhood east of City Beach. The reason the city gave for adding the stop signs was to “calm traffic in the neighborhood” after several people petitioned the city to do something about speeding. I grew up in that neighborhood and still have family and friends that live there. None of them, nor I, believe or have seen excessive or rampant speeding there.

Our elected officials have a tireless job and I appreciate their service, but adding stop signs was a terrible and seemingly impulsive decision. Addressing speeding with the use of stop signs has been studied by many institutions. A study at Cornell University stated, “the placement of one or more stop signs to slow traffic will often have the opposite effect.” The city of Fort Collins, Colorado, found, “it (stop signs) should not be used as a speed control device.” The state of Michigan’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices states, “stop signs should not be used for speed control.”

Another reason this was a bad decision, and perhaps most surprising that it happened in Whitefish, is the addition of these stop signs will not only increase congestion, but that in turn also increases carbon emissions. A county in California stated, “stop and go traffic resulting from the placement of stop signs will increase carbon dioxide emissions, thereby further impacting the air quality in your area.” Interestingly, in 2017, Mayor Muhlfeld stated, “the City of Whitefish will increase its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice.” The City of Whitefish’s 2018 Climate Action Plan stated, “traffic congestion causes vehicles to idle in traffic and emit greenhouse gasses.” My question is why would Whitefish, a purported champion of the Paris Accord and climate change mitigation, implement a carbon increasing solution?

There are many more published documents detailing why stop signs should not be used to curtail speed or calm traffic and most of those mention the addition of stop signs actually decrease the safety of that intersection as well as the surrounding area.

Please remove the signs.

Koel Abell, Whitefish