The Case For "California Stops"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

What do you call it when you roll through a stop sign with only a perfunctory tap on the brakes? Here in Oregon, the name “California stop” seems to have stuck. But it turns out that Oregon’s petty provincial put-down may just be a backhanded compliment. According to Gary Lauder, stop signs suck and should be replaced, if not ignored. And you know what? He’s got a hell of a point. Check out his recent presentation from the TED conference, and contemplate the possibilities of a post-stop sign world.

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  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Jun 24, 2010

    I'm not down on US drivers using roundabouts - at least not as much as many of the B&B. We've had a few locally for 4 or 5 years now and yes, occasionally someone will stop when there is no reason, but I figure that's no worse than when it used to be an actual stop. Most of the drivers seem to figure it out in time. Accidents are down considerably. Traffic flows better. The funny thing about the "circle" I use most frequently is that it's near another intersection controlled by a stoplight. A considerable number of cars will turn right on the arrow, at the light, and proceed towards the traffic circle. If the first car manages to get into the circle, all the other cars following will get in too because the traffic from other directions must yield. Effectively, the traffic circle is governed by the timing of the nearby traffic light intersection.

  • Roadscholar Roadscholar on Jun 24, 2010

    What frustrates me the most are traffic lights triggered by timers instead of cars. Think of the time and fuel saved if all traffic lights only changed when there was a car in the crossroad.

    • Rodehardputupwet Rodehardputupwet on Jun 24, 2010

      There's a 'T' intersection near my place (GTA Ontario) with traffic lights. The main road light stays green until a vehicle sits on the left turn lane embedded sensor loop on the side street. The signals switch, the sensor is cleared & after a few seconds the main street signal returns to green. Any traffic turning right from the side street has to wait for an opening to turn on red. Not exactly cheap to install but definitely effective. Pedestrian crosswalk lights work the same way except of course with push buttons instead of sensor loops.

  • Caljn Caljn on Jun 24, 2010

    Anger much?

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Jun 25, 2010

    Bring on the yield signs and roundabouts, slow-witted Late Adopters be damned. Our city is pock-marked with unnecessary stop signs, red lights and speed humps, thanks to city councilors who can't say no to a single squeaky wheel for fear of losing a vote. It makes driving an inefficient, arduous task, and turns drivers into dangerous, impatient and inattentive zombies.