Last March, Pickerington City Council's Safety Committee authorized then City Engineer Greg Bachman to review all of Pickerington's multi-way stop signs in an effort to determine which ones would be appropriate for removal.
"The intent of the review was to determine if any locations could have stop signs removed from an engineering and police standpoint," said Scott Tourville, Pickerington's city engineer.
"Technical studies cite numerous benefits to removing unnecessary stop signs, which include reduced speeds, increased pedestrian safety, and reduction in vehicle emissions and fuel consumption," Tourville said.
A total of 26 intersections that are multi-way stop locations underwent the initial review process.
Tourville said he worked with Commander Annis of the Pickerington Police Department over a recent two-week period to whittle that number.
"(We) determined nine intersections could be reduced from multi-way stops to one-way stops," Tourville said at the June 19 Safety Committee meeting.
He said they determined which signs to remove based on "the volume of traffic and sight distance, to make sure a stopped vehicle can adequately see an approaching car."
Mayor Lee Gray inquired whether removing multi-way stop signs increased safety.
"Removing signs can increase safety," Tourville said.
"When motorists encounter an unwarranted stop sign they speed up.
"Pedestrians have a false sense of security. It's a major cause of pedestrian accidents," Tourville said.
Gray told Tourville he wanted to know the criteria being used to justify multi-way stop sign removal.
"I like to understand the methods," Gray said.
Tourville said Ohio law requires all traffic control devices to follow the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices and multi-way stops in question are not in compliance with that code.
"What justifies a multi-way stop is neighborhood streets of similar size and volume where you have traffic coming in conflict points," Tourville said.
He said it is important to note more than 70 technical engineering papers back the opinion that unneeded multi-way stops "do not control speeds, do not make neighborhoods safer and may actually increase speed."
Tourville said the nine intersections deemed worthy of multi-sign removal are: McLeod Parc at Abby Court; McLeod Parc at Brookside Drive; Melrose Boulevard at Stewart Court; Timber Ridge at Vantage Pointe Place East; Montmorency Drive at Cherry Hill; Montmorency at Courtright; Meadows Boulevard at Hillview Street; Violet Drive at Lorraine Boulevard; and Sycamore Creek Street at Herrogate Square.
Tourville said there is a notification process with stop sign removal in addition to an amendment of the city's traffic control map. Concrete stop bars would need to be removed as well.
City Manager Bill Vance pushed the committee to further review the matter.
"Can we bring this back next month?" Vance asked.
"I did not realize this was as comprehensive as it is," he said.
Committee members agreed to continue to evaluate the issue at the next Safety Commission meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. July 19.
In other matters, the Safety Committee considered the installation of a "Legally Blind Child" sign to be placed on each end of Wooster Street, but ultimately decided against it, citing its potential ineffectiveness as well as policy concerns.
"ODOT doesn't recommend these types of signs," said Ed Drobina, Pickerington city services director.
Drobina said a resident with a visually impaired child requested the signs be put up.
City Councilman Jeff Fix said the city could open itself up to other requests, thus creating a cumulative effect, but not necessarily increasing safety.
"I have sympathy for the parents, but once you start down this path you could have a lot of signs in a lot of different places that are ignored. I just don't see how it could change your driving habits," Fix said.
The Safety Committee voted 2-0 against installing the sign.