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

Councilwoman Amy Scoggins previously questioned the need for the stop signs at the top of the hill between Woodbury Drive and Settlers Ridge Parkway.

Do you ever make a complete stop at the top of the hill between Woodbury Drive and Settlers Ridge Parkway?

This summer, Councilwoman Amy Scoggins questioned the need for those stop signs, and on Wednesday the Woodbury City Council will discuss its options for traffic control there.

       Related: Are These Woodbury Stop Signs Really Necessary?

Some background from the council workshop agenda item:

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.

In June, Scoggins said citizens often question her about the need for the stop signs.

“It’s inconveniencing a lot of people every day,” she said then. “I don’t even know if many people stop.”

During Wednesday night’s council workshop, the city will discuss two alternatives: leaving the stop signs in place or replacing them with warning signs.

There are concerns about safety regarding a nearby resident’s driveway.

Reaction

Below is reaction from Patch users on a previous story on this issue.

Jennifer: I drive that road 4-5 days/week, and I always stop. It makes sense to me, as there is a driveway very nearby, and it is at the top of a hill; it is essentially a blind intersection. This is not something that needs to even be discussed. I would rather focus time on locations that need stop signs.

Kristen: I agree with Jennifer. I'm alright with stopping especially since it gives me peace of mind that I will not hit someone entering or exiting their driveway. Just because a few people feel inconvenienced, it's no reason to take away a family's safety and peace of mind.

Kris Janisch: I have to say that of the dozen or so cars I saw yesterday while I was taking photos, not one of them made a complete stop.

SomeGuy: I can understand the questioning of a stop sign there instead of a blind driveway warning sign. But I think Woodbury has other, more pressing traffic concerns (namely, the longest red lights in the Twin Cities, staying red for minutes after the crossing traffic has cleared — this seriously impedes flow and I have seen more than a few drivers decide to just run the red light rather than continue waiting for a red light to change; and the traffic backup which occurs every weekday morning on Bailey Road at Woodlane).

       Related: Simon Says: Woodbury’s Stoplights Could Be Timed Better

LA: I would have to say I travel the road several times a day. Not many people stop completely. I don't think there is a need for a stop sign but perhaps signage to indicate there is a blind driveway ahead? If it is a matter of having people slow down for the resident, that would make more sense than having a complete stop there.

Kris Janisch: Sometimes I'll stop completely because I think it's an easy spot for cops to bust people for not stopping, though I've never seen a squad car camped out there.

Jim: If the sign is there to slow down traffic for one driveway maybe there is a better solution like a light that would sense a vehicle exiting the driveway and display a message to warn moving vehicles to slow down. Seems silly to force everyone to stop or come to a near stop just so it's safer when a vehicle exits the driveway once or twice a day, doesn't it?

Kris Janisch: Not a bad idea Jim. I just wonder about the cost.

Kris Janisch: Someone on our Facebook page posted this from the city: http://www.ci.woodbury.mn.us/engineering/traffic-a-signals/985-valley-creek-road-and-old-cottage-grove-drive-traffic-control

Natasha: That stop sign has seemed utterly ridiculous to me, and I seldom make a complete stop. In all of the times that I have been through, I have never seen a car using the driveway. It seems silly to me that we make every car stop just on the off chance that someone MIGHT be exiting the driveway. I think speed is the actual problem. Perhaps the speed limit can be reduced to make the road safer rather than keeping a non-essential stop sign that is a relic of the road that used to intersect.

Mark: How about a different idea... go back and open up the Cottage Grove intersection and Valley Creek. Keep the stop sign there for safety of the blind intersection and help reduce the traffic on Woodcrest Drive. The flow of traffic is wrong coming and going out of Fairway Meadows, Eagle Valley,West side of Stonemill Farms, Ashwood and now Ryland's Highland Knoll neighborhood. Majority of the people use Woodcrest Drive to come and go out when going to St. Paul or to Woodbury, which isn't designed to handle all this traffic. There are town houses on Woodcrest Drive and many of those people park on the street leaving basically one lane on a very small and busy road. Plus, the Woodbury Police will often set a speed trap there because it is 30 mph on this street. They know it gets heavy traffic and they want to have people slow down for the safety of the residences. The planners thought that people would take Settlers Ridge in and out, but just like water people take the shortest path to their destination with the price of gas and busy schedules. If you opened up the Cottage Drive intersection like it was a few years ago you would solve several traffic and safety concerns until 2015 when the city reviews the master plan.

SomeGuy: Mark raises many good points to consider. Though the city will review the plan in 2015, there are some temporary measures they can and should examine which would benefit in terms of safety and traffic flow (which benefits drivers, bikers, walkers and businesses).

Lynn: If people don't stop at a stop sign what makes anyone think a blind driveway sign will do anything? There's a stop sign there for a reason! So STOP! And don't think your time is so valuable that a few seconds in the interest of people's safety is too much to ask. This issue really irritates me. Please spend time on issues that really need to be addressed. There's a stop sign there for a reason and it should stay forever!

Jennifer: I agree with you, Lynn. How is it really affecting your life by stopping? I think this whole discussion is a waste of time that could be better spent on more important things. Yeah, maybe some people find it pointless and annoying, so what? Just stop and go on with your life. It will affect you life for 5 seconds.

Kate: Yes!!!! Please re-open Cottage Grove Drive to Valley Creek! That was one of the biggest mistakes the city had made! Then, they cut it off on the south end as well! Never should have happened! Mark... You need to run for City Council! Btw. I believe the stop signs are there to avoid the hill being used like "roller coaster road" with the teen drivers! Dangerous situation for all!

Joel: The stop sign is pointless. The driveway is far enough down the other side of the hill not to cause issues if there was no sign. For those that say the stop sign is for that driveway on the west side of the hill, then what are you stopping for when you are traveling East bound? Squirrel crossing? Take it down and give everyone some gas mileage back.

HHF34: Mark & Jim for Woodbury City Council or Washington County Commissioner… I avoid that road and "roundabout city" for a reason (and yes, I do make a full and complete stop at a stop sign anywhere — extra enforcement by WBY PD would nip the no stopping in the bud). A stoplight with a sensor is a good idea if it could be done on the cheap but the problem is that. The better idea for the long term would be to eliminate it being a blind intersection in the first place. Shrinking the grade of the road in that section such that the driveway might be slightly steeper and not the road is a better long-term solution. What about slowing down the speed limit and putting up a yield sign at the top of the hill such that you're nearly at a complete stop already by the time you make it up the hill.

Kris Janisch: Just for fun, somebody posted this on our Facebook page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S7AyiVfNdA

HHF34: Classic!!! (And appropriate for the grading on that stretch of road!)

Kate: Hey, while we are at it, can the city please add a right hand turn lane at the intersection of Valley Creek and 19! Talk about a waste of gas! Sitting behind one car that is NOT turning right is enough to cause some major road rage for many!

(Editor’s note: There is now a lane for right-turn only lane at westbound Valley Creek Road and Radio Drive. It was put in as part of the reconstruction of Valley Creek Road.)

 

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Simon D November 27, 2012 at 02:06 PM
While we're on the topic of superfluous stop signs, how about the one on the curve of Guider Dr.? This road connects Bielenberg to Woodlane behind the whole retail area behind Rainbow, Target, the Woodbury Theaters, etc. There is no possible cross traffic here, not even a crosswalk, and no room to add any in the future. I consider this road as the best time-warp bypass in Woodbury, and rarely if ever stop for these unnecessary signs, but would love to see those signs removed.
Kara Rowan November 27, 2012 at 07:08 PM
If you put a slow down for traffic sign...NOBODY will slow down. The stop sign needs to remain for the safety of the folks that live on that stretch of road and for the drivers safety as well...I fear that someone will come flying over the hill into me on the other side while being careless or distracted or under the influence.
Eric Berg November 27, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Simon, at this moment, the Guider Dr stop sign is pretty un-needed...but if you look at an aerial shot, you'll see that it's actually a T-intersection which would access two lots that are a little bit smaller than the office condos across the freeway. It also looks like there's another access point to those properties (as well as the lots that are between Kohl's and Woodlane) near the apex of the curve on Woodlane. Putting a link up to the area...not sure if it will work. You couldn't put up a Target or Wal*Mart there, but it is developable...probably an office use there, perhaps (gasp!) more fast food, maybe a Barnes and Noble sized retail use, but the location isn't great for uses that require moderate to high traffic volume as of yet. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7ADRA_enUS370&q=Guider+Road+Woodbury&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&bpcl=38897761&biw=1097&bih=800&wrapid=tlif135404417194810&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&ei=DhO1UPm3K8T8yAH_0YGQCw&ved=0CAUQ_AUoAA
Kris Janisch November 27, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Had to delete that comment for profanity. Don't think it's going to be a big tax on the budget though, and I think new signage would range from $500 to $600, if memory serves. It's in the council packet.
Ursula Murphy November 28, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Everyone who drives a car will stop at a light or STOP sign a few times a day. Is it such a big deal to stop one more time?? I drive that road most of the days and stop at this stop sign . I stop and do not roll through like most. It is a STOP sign not a roll sign, necessary or not. I don't think signs are there for us to decide if we should or should not obey them . I think you spend more time writing or complaining about this than it actually would take you to stop there many times. This is not the first or second time I am reading about this being an issue . ARE THERE NOT more important things you need to do in your life??? its a STOP sign?! Com'on?! Really?!?!
j.c. November 28, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I can only imagine the high speeds that will result over the top of that hill. We moved here after Cottage Grove Drive was closed... I just always assumed that stop sign was there to slow people down over the hill. I agree that there are bigger traffic issues. Anybody else try to navigate the 4-way stop at Lake & Pioneer, especially when school starts/ends. It's a mess. Can't believe there is a light down by the elementary but not at the middle school.
Kris Janisch November 28, 2012 at 11:48 PM
That's what I always thought before it was brought up this summer j.c. Over at Lake and Pioneer, I wonder if the city would let the school use a crossing guard or something. But I'm not sure how that would work. Or if it would even be possible.
j.c. November 29, 2012 at 01:04 AM
There are crossing guards - at both intersections actually. But at Lake & Pioneer, once the guard clears the intersection, none of the drivers seem to know whose turn it is. Seems to cause more confusion. Down at the Elementary school the guard is still there, even with a light.
Kris Janisch November 29, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Got it, thanks j.c. The council actually did something a little unexpected with this one.
Russ Nyquist November 29, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Code of Federal Regulations CFR 655.603 states that traffic control devices on all streets, highways, bikeways and prive roads open to travel SHALL BE IN SUBSTANSTIAL CONFORMANCE WITH STANDARDS ISSUED OR ENDORSED BY THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATOR
Kris Janisch November 29, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Here's what the council decided on this one: http://patch.com/A-zTlW
SomeGuy November 29, 2012 at 05:55 PM
The key - sadly - is enforcement of traffic laws ... and there is very little enforcement in Woodbury. For whatever reason, people choose to not obey the laws. But there is not consequence for this, at least not in Woodbury as compared to the other Twin Cities 'burbs where I have lived and now travel through. The lack of basic traffic enforcement in Woodbury is really amazing. And a public safety issue.
Kris Janisch November 29, 2012 at 05:56 PM
@SomeGuy, I actually talked to someone yesterday who said she lives over by Red Rock Elementary and speeding is a huge issue in her neighborhood.

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