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Stop sign on Main Street should make road safer, slower and more walkable

Flashing red light a temporary measure to alert drivers to control change in Tigard.

Drivers along Main Street used to waiting for the light to change at a Main Street intersection will be waiting awhile.

The city installed new stop signs on Southwest Main Street at Scoffins Street last week, in an attempt to improve safety and walkability on the popular Tigard road.

The stop signs replace the traffic signal which had been managing traffic at the intersection for decades.

The stop signs were installed on March 1, and a flashing red traffic light will alert drivers to the change for the next several months.

Stop signs and traffic signals might seem like two sides of the same coin, but McCarthy said that the changes to that intersection will be noticeable.

“We foresee lower crash rates at that intersection. It will really help with walkability in the downtown, particularly in that area with a lot of people crossing," McCarthy said. "Overall, well see a reduced traffic delay and people will be able to get through there faster than they would with a traffic light and it will reduce vehicle speeds in the downtown area.”

It’s not common for a road to downgrade an intersection from a traffic signal to a stop sign, but McCarthy said that it was necessary to improve the functionality of Main Street.

“The issue with the traffic signal was that sometimes you can breeze right through (when the light is green), or sometimes the guy in front will stop and the person behind them doesn’t.

Over the last seven years, McCarthy said, five crashes have been reported at that site, including three serious ones.

“It obviously doesn’t have as many crashes as intersections on (Highway 99W),” McCarthy said. “It wasn’t flagged as a high crash location, but those crashes were enough to get our attention,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the next three to four months will be a “testing phase” for the new traffic stop.

“If we decide it’s working better we’ll take out the signal completely,” he said. “If we decide it’s not working better, we’ll turn the traffic signal back on.”

By Geoff Pursinger
Assistant Editor
The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood
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