Newly installed 4-way stop in downtown met with dispute

May 30, 2018 — by Connie Liang

Following its installation in late March due to resident complaints, the new 4-way stop at the intersection of Big Basin Way and 4th Street in downtown has since been met with praise and criticism alike.

The City Council approved a recommendation from the Saratoga Traffic Safety Commision for the initiative during its Feb. 21 meeting. Lauren Pettipiece, the city’s administrative analyst, said via a statement on that the 4-way stop is meant to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection.

Previously, residents living off 4th street have complained about the difficulty of turning onto Big Basin Way, especially since more cars travel on Big Basin Way compared to 4th Street. The same problem holds for pedestrians who want to cross the busy street.

Principal Paul Robinson travels through downtown regularly and views the addition as a positive element that would eliminate danger for pedestrians.

“I think it’s actually a pretty good thing as far as making sure everybody’s safe downtown, because as much as there are these really nice crosswalks in the area, a lot of people don’t use them,” Robinson said.

However, residents on complained that not enough notice was given prior to the decision.

“I know when my neighbor is going to cut a tree, but somehow something of this magnitude was decided with no neighborhood notification,” resident Barbara McRae noted.

Furthermore, some argued that the stop signs won’t do much to help pedestrians and might even increase congestion and traffic during rush hours.

“It is very hard to see people crossing the street at night and a flashing crosswalk would solve that problem; a four way stop will not alert you to crossing pedestrians,” resident Kathy Miller said. Mike Sheehan of Gardiner Park simply said the installation was “absolutely the wrong decision.”

With such polarizing opinions, the city will continue to observe the 4-way stop and come to a conclusion on its effectiveness during a special meeting at City Hall on June 7. Residents are encouraged to attend.


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