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Woodbury Stop Sign Situation Spurs Study

The City Council opted to move ahead with a study of regional traffic flow before making a decision on the stop signs, which some residents say don’t make sense.

The stop signs at the top of a hill along Valley Creek Road will remain in place… for now, at least.

The Woodbury City Council on Wednesday informally agreed to move forward with a study of traffic flow in the area surrounding the stop signs, which are located between Woodbury Drive and Settlers Ridge Parkway and have often been questioned by residents.

The study could cost $50,000 to complete, said Public Works Director David Jessup.

Councilwoman Amy Scoggins previously brought the topic to the city’s attention. She said it makes sense to get expert analysis of the area before deciding on the stop signs.

“I like the idea,” she said.

Some background on the stop signs from the council agenda:

Cottage Grove Drive was disconnected from Valley Creek Road in 2006, concurrent with the connection of northbound and southbound Settlers Ridge Parkway to Valley Creek Road. At that time, it was decided to maintain the eastbound and westbound stop signs on Valley Creek Road at the old Cottage Grove Drive intersection. This decision was based upon resident concerns over the existing stop sign removal and the pending 2008 reconstruction of Valley Creek Road in this area. Due to the subsequent housing slowdown and pending design options, Valley Creek Road reconstruction from Woodcrest Drive east to Settlers Ridge Parkway has been delayed indefinitely. There has, however, been a significant increase in traffic on this section of Valley Creek Road.

Norbert Huber lives near the stop signs and encouraged the city to study the area. He said removing the signs would be dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as residents who live along the hill.

“It’s our general safety that’s at risk,” Huber said.

Bobbie Plautz, who lives south of the stop signs where the road was cut off, said she and her husband have been unable to sell some of their property “because of your road.”

She was also previously assessed for curb and gutter work there and wanted to be sure she wouldn’t be charged again should the road be reopened in the future.

Meanwhile, Russ Nyquist spoke in favor of removing the stop signs. He quoted federal stop sign guidelines that say there are no provisions for having them without an intersection.

“You are supposed to be in compliance with federal standards,” Nyquist told the council, adding that other signage at the spot would be more appropriate.

Still, council members appeared to favor a study, and the city will likely revisit the matter next fall.

"We need a plan," Councilman Paul Rebholz said.

Previous Coverage

Updated: Are These Woodbury Stop Signs Really Necessary?

Woodbury to Discuss Need for ‘Inconvenient’ Valley Creek Road Stop Signs

 

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Kris Janisch November 29, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Hadn't thought of how snow and ice might impact that area Stephanie, good point. Looks like it's going to be awhile before anything changes though.
Skippy A November 29, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I agree with Russ, put a different sign there and get rid of those stop signs... As far a bicyclists and pedestrians, there are ample trails all over our city, that would be a safer choice for them to take. I rarely see people on that stretch of road.
Russ Nyquist November 29, 2012 at 08:23 PM
If the paid consultant comes to the conclusion that the sign should come down, will the council abide by it?
Kris Janisch November 29, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I would assume so Russ. It will be interesting to see what it says about overall traffic there. Anybody who live around there have a feel for some of the issues? Mrs. Plautz also said she would like to see a stop sign at Woodcrest, I think. I know she used the word "horrendous."
Sue B November 30, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I drive that stretch of VCR almost every day. I think the signs should stay. That hill is too steep to go over at the posted speed (50). It would quickly become a rollercoaster for teenagers trying to get airborne. Too dangerous.
JR Nyquist November 30, 2012 at 03:40 PM
After attending the council meeting, it has become clear to me at least the reason why the sign is there. It’s not there so cars won’t fly off the hill, it’s not there so cars won’t swerve into the other lane, it’s not there for pedestrian crossing(the is no place for pedestrians to cross to as the other side of the road is a ditch). The reason it is there is because of the driveway that is approx 500 ft west of the stop sign on the north side of Valley Creek. We also need to understand the federal manual for street signage. Its called the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices and is published by the Federal Highway Administration. It is available on line at: www.mutcd.fhwa.gov/index.html Federal law states that all traffic control devices on all streets, highways, bikepaths and private roads open to public travel in each state shall be in substanstial conformance with the standards issued by the Federal Highway Administration. Reading through the manual a few items pop out at me: Section 2B-5: Yield or Stop signs should not be used for speed control. Section 2B-7: Stop or Yield signs should not be placed further than 50 feet from the edge of the pavement of the intersected roadway. Section 2B-10: The Stop or Yield sign shall be located as close as practical to the intersection it regulates. Section 2B-08: 08 A YIELD or STOP sign should not be installed on the higher volume roadway unless justified by an engineering study.
JR Nyquist November 30, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Section 1A-06: Uniformity of devices simiplifies the task of the road user because it aids in recognition and understanding, thereby reducing perception/reaction time. Uniformity assists road users, law enforcement officers, and traffic courts by giving everyone the same interpretation. Uniformity means treating similar situations in a similar way. The use of uniform traffic control devices does not, in itself, constitute uniformity. A standard device used where it is not appropriate is as objectionable as a non standard device. In fact, this might be worse because such misuse might result in disrespect at those locations where the device is needed and appropriate. Section 2A-03 Each standard sign shall be displayed only for the purpose as prescribed in this manual. Determination of the particular signs to be applied to a specific condition shall be made in accordance with the provisions set forth in the manual. Before any new highway, private road open to public travel, detour, temporary route is opened to public travel, all necessary signs shall be in place. Signs required by road conditions or restrictions shall be removed when those conditions cease to exist or the restrictions are withdrawn.
JR Nyquist November 30, 2012 at 03:42 PM
The reason the stop sign is placed on the lower volume road is there is much less chance of an accident. You have 10,000 vehicles a day using Valley Creek Road, vs. 1 vehicle a day using the driveway. The chances of an accident are much greater with the 10,000 vehicles than the 1 vehicle.
Kris Janisch November 30, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Thanks for all the background JR.
Jordan Simon November 30, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Didn't I hear something about leveling that hill and widening Valley Creek Road at some point in time?
Kris Janisch November 30, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Yeah, I think that was the plan at one point Jordan. And if the county assumes control of that stretch of road it would be widened, I believe.
Jordan Simon November 30, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I sure hope so, driving that stretch multiple times a night it would add a convenience and would simply many things, except that homeowner on the hill
Jordan Simon November 30, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Simplify*
Dan November 30, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I drive that stretch daily and the stop sign should stay. I had a guy heading west blow through the sign while I was heading east up the hill. Scared me enough that I swerved because I thought I was gonna get hit. The speed is too fast to not slow down. Now we all know a sign that says slow will do nothing, slow in my mind is 25mph, still enough to scare another driver coming the opposite way. I regularly roll through that stop sign, as do others. People have an inherent need to obey the law to an extent. With a stop sign they almost stop, pretty darn safe. With a slow down sign they leave it up to interpretation of slow. I can't see this being such an issue that it even warrants a discussion. I think on something so minor the city doesn't need residents this involved. Th city should save the money and tell us residents too bad, deal with, end of discussion. I can't conceive how a stop sign impacts someones life to the extent that they petition for its removal.
Jordan Simon November 30, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Attend the local meetings and oppose the idea then. That's what's going to matter. I'm not saying it's a necessity for the removal of the stop sign, it just adds simplicity, it's an annoyance to stop but I'm not saying it's not something that we can't all deal with. Do I want the stop sign gone? Yes. Will I whine if it's voted to stay? No.
James Currell November 30, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Well a lot of folks way in on the sign. I'm probably one of the people to blame for the sign too Back when I was a kid we had a lot of fun flying over the hill it was fun and even better when they black top the road How ever after I built a home up there off the folks farm and the school busses stopped there I agreed with a couple of folks that a store sign would be prudent I spoke to many of the folks along cottage grove drive ( all 8 or so) and they all agreed Fast forward to today just a few changes and another 40-60000 people they don't like the sign. I get that The city engineer didn't want the sign in the first place but the city council in there wisdom saw the necessity because of safety and granted the permission. Thank you Now cottage grove drive is cut off and they don't need a sign Oh wait The city was going to lowers Valley Creek rd They haven't done that yet So I say lets wait till the road has been re-constructed and then visibility will improve Then the sign should come down and only then
JR Nyquist November 30, 2012 at 06:09 PM
That would be fine, but the road may not be re-constructed for another 10 years. It's already been 6 years since Cottage Grove Drive has been disconnected.
Norb Huber November 30, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Those are federal guidlines not laws. The problem with the road is that it now has a volume of 10,000 cars a day, that's a lot of traffic on a road that was designed as a rural farm road. There were guidlines and plans in place to deal with that, even the funding for the required changes has been paid to the city. The city has not acted upon previously decided upon changes that need to be completed and so we poor souls don't end up cowering everytime someone decides they are smarter than the law. This one road is not the only problem on the east side of Woodbury, drive around and talk to some the residents who purchase home adjacent to Cottage Grove Drive as well as other areas. This thing is a work in progress that has been stopped for whatever reason. 10,000 cars a day on Valley Creek Road an old farm road also does not meet the norms of federal guidlines. It isn't just the one driveway, I'm on the east side and I get the road rage outbursts as I turn into my driveway, the honking, the finger and the school bus driver who refuses to drop my child off at the end of the school day because he doesn't trust the 10,000 to honor his stop as they have demonstrated in the am pick up time - up to 4 a week and 2 a day who run it. I would favor closing Valley Creek Road and diverting the traffic through other neighborhoods. Cauld your road handle more traffic?
Norb Huber November 30, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Why don't you ask why the city has not completed the agreed upon work? Who doesn't get it?
JR Nyquist November 30, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I believe that the proposal upgrade to Valley Creek Road would make it a 4-lane divided road. The problem with that part of Valley Creek is there are 6 or 7 driveways that come out directly onto the road. Even if the hill is lowered and the road is widened won't there still be cars zipping by those driveways at 50 mph?
Jordan Simon November 30, 2012 at 07:44 PM
I think I speak for everybody in saying we do understand that, but unfortunately they keep pushing it back to focus on other projects and I think we need an intermediate step until that happens
Jordan Simon November 30, 2012 at 07:46 PM
It would be the same situation for every single house on Manning Avenue. Multiple houses on a 55mph road
JR Nyquist November 30, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Minnesota also has a MUTCD manual, which is basically a copy of the federal manual. Minnesota State statute 169.06: "All such traffic-control devices hereafter erected shall conform to the state manual and specifications." "Shall conform" makes it seem like it's not optional. "
James Currell November 30, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Well JR thanks for the legal update I guess we'll just have to wait for the study typically when roads are updated to 4 lanes - existing driveway access is reduced to a right in - right out - I expect that would be the same situation for everyone along Valley Creek as it is improved But calm down JR - I don't think it will be another 10 years
Irving November 30, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Oh man, I hadn't thought about catching some air...
Justin D December 01, 2012 at 12:22 AM
So $50k to decide whether or not to remove a stop sign? I am in the wrong business!
Amy Scoggins December 01, 2012 at 12:36 AM
The study will encompass the area from Valley Creek to Bailey, between Lake Road and Woodbury Drive. It's not all about the stop sign. Traffic patterns, speeding and many other traffic issues are going to be looked at. I'm sure part of it will include evaluating whether or not to lower that stretch of Valley Creek. As of now, there is no exact figure on the cost of the study. By conducting an independent review, we will have recommendations on how to make that entire area safer and more efficient. That is the goal.
Ursula Murphy December 01, 2012 at 06:39 PM
We are going to spent $50.000 on a study because we have a few residents that don't like a stop sign? that's how all this started.... this is getting ridiculous
Jordan Simon December 01, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Ursula, please read Amy's comment. Not only is it about a couple residents not liking a stop sign. It's a study encompassing a larger area to improve traffic flow, intersection use, and safety of residents/ drivers
Kris Janisch January 06, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Strib did a story on this recently. http://www.startribune.com/local/east/185537312.html

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