Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

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Will Erie County install "Children at Play" signs on my street?

As a policy, Erie County will not install "Children at Play" signs because of the following reasons:
  • There is no evidence that the sign is effective in changing the driver's behavior to slow down or be more alert of the presence of children.
  • The sign is not recognized as an official traffic control sign by the national, state and local standards.
  • The sign can promote a false sense of security to both children and parents.
  • Every neighborhood has children, so an absence of the sign would incorrectly imply that children do not live in the area.

Can our neighborhood streets have speed humps installed to slow drivers down?

There are many ways to address a speeding problem through neighborhoods. Speed humps are only one of many possible solutions. In response to a reported speeding problem, Erie County will conduct a traffic study to validate the reported speeding problem, study the roadway network in the neighborhood, collect volume/speed data, and study the crash history. Based on the result of the study, a set of recommendations is noted and the most cost-feasible solution is implemented. This process usually takes about 30 days to complete. If speed humps are the recommended solution, the next step in the process involves coordination with the homeowners association to further consider the planning and funding of the project. Remember, when studying a speeding problem on a particular road in a neighborhood, a broader look at parallel roadways is necessary to not relocate the problems to other roadway within the neighborhood.

Will Erie County install a stop sign at an intersection to slow drivers down?

Under the right conditions, STOP signs can play an important role in traffic safety. However, STOP signs installed in the wrong place usually create more problems than they solve. Many requests are received for STOP signs to interrupt traffic or slow traffic down. However, studies across the nation show that there are a high number of intentional violations when STOP signs are installed as nuisances or speed breakers.

STOP signs are installed at an intersection only after a careful engineering evaluation of the existing conditions indicates that their installation is appropriate. Four-way STOPS are only helpful when traffic volumes are high and close to equal on all approaches to an intersection, or if there are geometric deficiencies creating sight distance problems.

Will Erie County install "No Dumping" signs at a location?

As a policy, Erie County will not install "No Dumping" signs because of the following reasons:
  • Dumping is not permitted within the public right-of-way for any reason at any time. Therefore, posting a "No-Dumping" sign at a particular location can be misunderstood that dumping may be allowed elsewhere.
  • A sign will not stop a violator from dumping refuse at a location.
Report violators to the appropriate law enforcement and/or code enforcement agency.

Can the posted speed limit on our street be reduced to slow down the speeding drivers?

It is a common myth that posting slower speed limit signs forces drivers to slow down and will result in fewer traffic accidents. National research has shown that the prevailing traffic conditions and the type of street, not the posted speed limit, influence drivers.

Speed studies are conducted to help set the speed limits. If an unreasonably low speed limit is posted, many drivers tend to ignore and violate the signs. There are some drivers who, on the other hand, always try to stay within the posted speed limit. This can cause conflict between faster and slower drivers, resulting in more accidents.

Traffic engineering studies help to determine the prevailing speed of most drivers using a certain street. Additionally, the studies take into account accident records and road conditions. An appropriate speed limit is then set based upon this data.

How does Erie County decide where to install traffic signals?

Traffic signals do not prevent crashes. Engineering studies have shown that in many instances, total intersection crashes increase after a traffic signal is installed. Certain types of crashes are susceptible to correction by installation of traffic signals, however, overall the number of crashes increase.

When determining whether or not a traffic signal is necessary at a specific location, an evaluation of the candidate location (called a signal warrant study) is conducted to determine the answers to the following questions:
  • How much traffic is there on the intersecting streets?
  • Are high levels of traffic consistent throughout the day or just during a few hours?
  • Is there a lot of pedestrian traffic?
  • Is the street a wide, high speed, and busy thoroughfare?
  • Are school children crossing the street?
  • Will a signal improve the flow of traffic or cause gridlock with other nearby signals?
The signal warrant study collects all of the relevant data at a location that is being considered for a traffic signal. Once the data are collected, they are compared to standards that have been established by extensive research and experience and documented in the latest edition of the Manual on Uniform traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). These standards, called "Traffic Signal Warrants" are used by traffic engineers throughout the United States to help determine appropriate signal locations.

A properly placed signal can improve the safety and efficiency of flow through an intersection. An unnecessary signal can be the source of danger and annoyance to all who use the intersection including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. It can also increase air pollution and cause driver frustration if there is not much traffic on the major street.

Satisfaction of the signal warrants do not necessarily justify installation of a traffic signal. Other, more appropriate solutions should be considered prior to considering installation of a traffic signal. Spacing between signals is always a major concern beyond the basic warranting analysis and should be carefully reviewed before deciding on installation of a new signal.

What is the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)?

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) publishes the MUTCD, which contains all national design, application, and placement standards for traffic control devices. The purpose of these devices, which includes signs, signals, and pavement markings, is to promote highway safety, efficiency, and uniformity so that traffic can move efficiently on the Nation's streets and highways. For more information on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
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