During February, the Public Works Department started installing new LED flashers on stop signs at select four-way-stop intersections in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The goal is to prevent drivers from running stop signs.
“There are various tools and strategies that we are trying to do to help prevent the problem we have of people running stop signs,” said Public Works Roads Section Manager Jennifer Jack, who has been giving presentations at the District meetings during February. “The flashing stop signs are [an additional step] that we can [take]. We have created a map of all the crashes that happened over a five-year period, evaluated all of the police narratives and data, and the top two trends that we see are fatal and severe crashes caused by alcohol and/or drugs and from people failing to stop at a stop sign.”
If you ever visit Talking Stick Resort, you will see flashing lights in the area due to a number of accidents caused by stop-sign runners.
“Those have been up for a few years now,” said Jack. “We used to get a lot of people running those stop signs, especially at the Via de Ventura and Dobson Road [intersection]. People would run the stop sign and hit the barricades, and we were constantly having to fix it. Once we put the flashing stop signs up, it really helped reduce the number of accidents.”
A total of 40 flashing stop signs will be placed at 11 intersections in the Community. This is a Community effort, supported by Council and funded by the SRPMIC.
The Community received a Tribal Transportation Safety Grant from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2018, and the Public Works Roads Division began installing new low-cost countermeasures in March 2020. In addition to the flashing stop signs, these include oversized stop signs, retroreflective sheeting on signposts, and properly placed stop bars (those white lines on the roadway that indicate where to stop at a stop sign).
“These are a great measure, especially when [drivers are] under the influence and don’t see things like stop signs. So these measures get their attention and are pretty effective,” said Jack. “We have had those reflective posts up for a few months now and that seems to really help catch people’s attention. The posts illuminate, and that’s helpful especially at night.”
The project is one-third of the way completed. The Roads Division also is working on installing traffic-calming measures to address cut-through traffic and speeding in the Community. These include speed tables, which are elevations in the roadway longer and flatter than speed humps; speed cushions, which are speed tables with wheel cutouts for trucks and emergency vehicles; and chicanes, which are alternating narrow and wide sections of S-curving roadway that force vehicles to slow down.