Dear Street Smarts,
Q: There are two, four-way intersections on the west side of Santa Cruz that do not have stop signs — Liberty at Santa Cruz streets and Liberty at Gharky streets. I always stop at these intersections, which drives my husband crazy. But I am afraid that I will be hit by another car, as nobody has to stop. Who should I contact regarding this? Thank You!
A: Generally speaking, if there is no traffic control at all, I would stop, too. I looked it up on the DMV’s website, www.dmv.ca.gov. Here’s what I found:
An intersection is any place where one line of traffic meets another. Intersections include cross streets, side streets, alleys, freeway entrances, and any other location where vehicles traveling on different highways or roads join each other.
• At intersections without STOP or YIELD signs, slow down and be ready to stop. Yield to vehicles already in the intersection or just entering it. Also, yield to the car which arrives first or to the car on your right if it reaches the intersection at the same time as you do.
• At ‘T’ intersections without STOP or YIELD signs, yield to vehicles on the through road. They have the right-of-way.
• When you turn left, give the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching you that are close enough to be dangerous. Also, look for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. On divided highways, or highways with several lanes, watch for vehicles coming in any lane you must cross. Turn left only when it is safe.
• When there are STOP signs at all corners, stop first, then follow the above rules.
• Yield to traffic before entering the road again if you have parked off the road or are leaving a parking lot, etc.”
However, if you are looking to have a stop sign installed, your contact person with the city is Jim Burr, transportation manager. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the record, “For Public Works to recommend the installation of a stop sign, the location must meet the criteria established in an All-Way Stop Sign Warrant,” said Chris Schneiter, of the city’s public works department. “Stop sign warrant criteria are established in the California version of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The warrant is a tool used by municipalities to objectively analyze intersections for two-way and all-way stop control. The maximum score of an all-way warrant is 50 points. The installation of an all-way stop control is justified with a minimum score of 15 points.”