STOP signs help control traffic and assign right-of-way for vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. The City receives numerous requests each year to install STOP signs to help control unsafe traffic conditions and we strive to thoughtfully evaluate each request. Safety for our residents is our top priority.
STOP Sign Installation Principles
This STOP Sign Policy describes the process, procedures, and criteria used when determining the installation of STOP signs. It incorporates the guidance of the California Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD), the California Vehicle Code (CVC), and the City of Seal Beach Municipal Code (SBMC). The following principles define the function and appropriate use of STOP signs:
STOP signs are only to be installed at intersections where drivers cannot safely apply the right-of-way rule.
STOP signs control vehicular traffic conflicts at intersections and improve safety to all users at an intersection.
Excessive use of signs should be avoided.
A conservative use of regulatory and warning signs – including STOP signs – is recommended as these signs, if used in excess, tend to lose their effectiveness.
Installing STOP signs that are not warranted unnecessarily increases fuel consumption and air and noise pollution.
Installing STOP signs that are not warranted may actually cause an increase in potential traffic collisions.
STOP signs should be used where warranted by facts and field studies. The recommendation to approve additional STOP sign locations shall follow the standards established within the CA MUTCD.
A STOP sign control should not be used in the following conditions:
STOP sign intended to only be used as a traffic measure to control vehicular speed.
STOP sign located at any entrance to an intersection controlled by traffic signals – with the exception of channelized turn lane, if it is separated from the adjacent travel lanes moving in the same direction by an island.
STOP sign located at an unsignalized intersection with YIELD sign(s) and the stop control is installed at conflicting or opposing approach to YIELD approach(s).
STOP Sign Installation Evaluation
The City is required by state law to comply with the guidelines of the CA MUTCD, CVC, and SBMC 8.15.015 Stop Signs. Staff will recommend the installation of a STOP sign only if one or more of the CA MUTCD STOP sign warrant criteria and considerations are met. In addition, engineering judgment on a case-by-case basis will be required to determine the need for STOP signs based on which criteria and considerations are satisfied.
Warrants for Minor-Street STOP Signs
The use of STOP signs on minor-street approaches should be considered if engineering judgment indicates a stop is always required due to vehicle volume, restricted visibility, and/or collision history. STOP signs on minor streets may include 2-way STOP-signs on minor streets, single-stop locations on T-intersection on minor streets, and single-stop locations on one-way minor streets.
STOP-sign installation may be considered on minor-streets if ANY of the following conditions exist:
Traffic Volume: The vehicular traffic volumes on the major-street exceed 6,000 vehicles per day.
Visibility: The visibility at the intersection is restricted such that it requires road users to stop in order to adequately observe conflicting traffic on the major-street.
Collision History: Three or more collisions within a 12-month period, or five or more collisions within a 2-year period, where the cause of collision can be attributed to right-of-way violations.
The STOP-sign is at an intersection of a less important road with a main road where application of the normal right-of-way rule would not be expected to provide reasonable compliance with the law.
The STOP-sign is at the entrance of a designated through highway or street.
The STOP-sign is at an unsignalized intersection in a signalized corridor or area.
Warrants for Multi-Way STOP Signs
Multi-way stop control can be useful as a safety measure at intersections if certain traffic conditions exist. Safety concerns associated with multi-way stops include pedestrians, bicyclists, and all road users expecting other road users to stop. Multi-way stop control is used where the volume of traffic on the intersecting roads is approximately equal - meaning approach volumes for the minor/major legs reach 45%/55% of the total intersection volume. Multi-way STOP signs may include all-way STOP signs or 3-way STOP-signs at a T-intersection.
STOP sign installation may be considered on minor-streets if ANY of the following conditions exist:
Interim Device: A traffic signal is warranted at the intersection. A multi-way stop is an interim measure to control traffic while arrangements are being made for the installation of the traffic control signal; in this situation, STOP signs are not intended to be permanently installed.
Collision History: Five or more reported collisions that are susceptible to correction by a STOP-sign (right-turn, left-turn, and right-angle collisions) in a 12-month period.
High Vehicle Volume
If the 85th-percentile approach speed of the major-street traffic does not exceed 40 mph:
The vehicular volume entering the intersection from the major street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 300 vehicles per hour for any 8 hours of an average day and the combined vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle volume entering the intersection from the minor street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 200 units per hour for the same 8 hours, with an average delay to minor-street vehicular traffic of at least 30 seconds per vehicle during the highest hour.
or, if the 85th percentile speed of the major-street traffic exceeds 40 mph:
The vehicular volume entering the intersection from the major street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 210 vehicles per hour (i.e., 70% of the above requirements) for any 8 hours of an average day and the combined vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle volume entering the intersection from the minor street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 140 units per hour for the same 8 hours, with an average delay to minor-street vehicular traffic of at least 30 seconds per vehicle during the highest hour.
Low to Medium Traffic Volume and Delay:
The vehicular volume entering the intersection from the major street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 240 vehicles per hour for any 8 hours of an average day and the combined vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle volume entering the intersection from the minor street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 160 units per hour for the same 8 hours, with an average delay to minor-street vehicular traffic of at least 24 seconds per vehicle during the highest hour.
Visibility Warrant: A STOP sign may be warranted if there is inadequate visibility to maintain safe traffic operations
STOP Sign Request
The purpose of the STOP Sign Request is to enable Seal Beach residents to request the possible initiation of a STOP sign warrant analysis in accordance with the City of Seal Beach STOP Sign Policy.
To submit a STOP Sign Request, please provide the following information in writing:
Description of the traffic concern location
Description of traffic problem you are concerned with
Explanation of how STOP signs will be able to eliminate or reduce your traffic concerns, while adhering to the City’s STOP Sign Policy
Indication of any neighborhood support for a STOP sign at the requested location
Indication of any facilities near this location that generate a high concentration of vehicle and pedestrian traffic
Any other information that would help us better understand the situation
The request can be mailed to:
City of Seal Beach
211 8th Street