Is end near for confounding Valley Creek Road stop signs?Ever drive eastbound on Valley Creek Road and wonder why you suddenly had to stop on top of the hill at that stop sign between Woodcrest Drive and Settlers Ridge Parkway? A lot of drivers wonder the same thing.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
Ever drive eastbound on Valley Creek Road and wonder why you suddenly had to stop on top of the hill at that stop sign between Woodcrest Drive and Settlers Ridge Parkway?
A lot of drivers wonder the same thing.
But what appears to be a useless stop sign to some is much more than that to others.
Which is why the Woodbury City Council decided Wednesday, Nov. 28, to hire a consultant to study traffic patterns in the area surrounding the stop sign.
A little history
Some Woodbury residents might remember an intersection at Valley Creek Road and Cottage Grove Drive. That’s where the stop sign currently sits.
In 2006, the City Council authorized the closure of Cottage Grove Drive at Valley Creek Road, but left the eastbound and westbound stop signs there.
At first, the city proposed to remove the stop signs to avoid rear-end accidents since an intersection no longer existed.
However, adjacent property owner Bruce Lindeman voiced concerns regarding the removal of the stop sign. He said it would create a dangerous situation for him accessing his property which is about 400 feet west of the old intersection.
The sign also sits on top of a hill, which creates sight distance issues as well, he argued.
At the time it made sense to leave the stop signs since Washington County was proposing to reconstruct the road, lower the hill and improve it to accommodate increased traffic that came with development in that part of Woodbury.
But with the housing slowdown in 2008 and corresponding delay in traffic increases, plans to improve the road were put on hold.
Fast forward six years.
City Council was presented with three options: Leave the signs where they are, do a traffic analysis of the entire quadrant or remove them completely.
The city has had numerous complaints regarding the stop sign and called it a “general public annoyance.” But the council opted for the third party traffic study to also get input on speeding and traffic patterns on problem roads like Woodcrest Drive, too.
Instead of spending approximately $50,000 on the study, though, Russ Nyquist argued the stop sign should be removed because it does not meet federal guidelines.
“I’m not asking for studies as a taxpayer,” he told the council last week.
Other residents, on the other hand, want it there.
Bobbie Plautz, who was cut off from access to her property when the city closed off Cottage Grove Drive, said she didn’t mind the limited access.
But the stop sign slows down traffic, she added, and even if some people ignore it, the majority at least slow down.
Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens emphasized there is more to traffic in that part of Woodbury than those two stop signs.
“It’s more than just the stop sign issue,” she said. “It seems appropriate to assess the other issues.”
According to a council report, traffic volumes on Valley Creek Road between Woodcrest Drive and Settlers Ridge Parkway have increased from 5,000 cars a day in 2006 to 10,000 cars a day presently.
There have not been any accidents at the stop sign location since 2006, the report added.
Before anything could happen to the road, whether it’s lowering it, widening it or removing the stop sign, city staff will present the traffic study results next fall.