Sign Requests

The Village is responsible for providing and maintaining all of the street signs throughout our network of roadways and parking lots. Please email the Public Works/Engineering Department for more information regarding signage or to make a request. They are also available by telephone at 414-962-6690.

Information Regarding Stop Sign Requests

The Village of Whitefish Bay receives several requests for a stop sign at a given intersection due to close accidents, the occurrence of a crash, or there is speeding in the neighborhood. The Village is committed to ensuring traffic safety to all users of its transportation network; however, a stop sign should not be viewed as a cure-all for solving all traffic related problems.

Stop Information

Did you know that when not required to stop by cross traffic, only 5 - 20% of all drivers will come to a complete stop, 40 - 60% will come to a “rolling” stop below 5 miles per hour, and 20 - 40% will pass through at higher than 5 miles per hour. (National Transportation Engineering Association study)

How do Whitefish Bay drivers compare? A study was done two years ago to observe driver behavior at controlled (stop or yield) intersections and those at uncontrolled. At controlled intersections (stop) 10% of the vehicles came to a complete stop, 35% rolled through the stop slowly, 37% rolled through the stop very quickly (tapped the break) and 18% did not stop at all. At an intersection that had a yield sign, 77% of the vehicles did not slow up at all.

Acceleration Information

Did you know that studies have shown that motorists tend to accelerate to higher speeds to make up for the time lost at stop signs. Vehicle speeds will decrease within 200 feet of an intersection but their speeds will increase over the posted speed limit between intersections to make up loss time.

How do Whitefish Bay drivers compare? This behavior was observed on the streets by the engineering staff through a field observation study a few years ago. A stretch of Birch Avenue between Lydell and Marlborough was monitored for several days. Although radar detection was not available to the staff, vehicle engine noise increased substantially after the stop or “roll” through was made indicating that the driver was accelerating to make up for lost time.

Accident Rates

Did you know that national insurance and engineering studies have shown that accident rates have actually increased at intersections where stop sign installation was not justified. The crashes involved drivers that disregarded the stop signs because they perceive the sign to be unnecessary. This results in a number of different scenarios where both drivers let their guard down, there existed too many stops signs in the neighborhood and the driver lost sight of the next sign, or the crash involved pedestrians believing that the vehicle was going to stop.

How do Whitefish Bay drivers compare? The Police Department and Engineering Department continually update crash data in Whitefish Bay in order to monitor crashes at each intersection. A crash incident map has been developed indicating all the reportable crashes that occurred at each intersection within the last three years. The frequency of crashes at an intersection may suggest a need for additional traffic control. Last year the data was used to compare the number of crashes that occurred at intersections with a traffic control device (stop/yield) against uncontrolled intersections. The comparison showed that just as many crashes occurred at controlled intersections than uncontrolled, however, the personal property damage and injury was greater at the intersection with the traffic control device. This phenomenon may have resulted because at an uncontrolled intersection one or both drivers may have been going at a lower rate of speed because of the uncertainty of the intersection.

Stop Sign Purpose

So what is the purpose of a stop sign? The purpose of a stop sign is to reduce the frequency of crashes at an intersection that can be preventable by such a device. In order to determine whether a stop sign will actually lower the crash incidents the following criteria are reviewed:
  • Three-year accident history
  • Visibility
  • Vehicular and pedestrian conflicts (more than 100 pedestrians per hour for an 8 hour period)
  • Vehicular volume or concentrated traffic
Although the criteria may not be met for the installation of a stop sign, the staff usually recommends what needs to be done to minimize the problem.

How can I get the Village to review my intersection to see if a stop sign is needed?
  • Write a letter or email to the Village Engineer. Be specific on why you think a stop sign would help at the requested intersection.
  • The Village Engineer will review the crash map to determine if there is a frequency of crashes. The Village Engineer will also notify the Police Department to get their input on safety at the requested intersection.
  • If several crashes have occurred at the intersection, then the Engineering Department will make field observations and obtain accident reports to verify the types of crashes that occurred.
  • If the crash data indicates that a stop sign may reduce the frequency, then the Engineering Department will conduct a study of the criteria listed above to make a recommendation to the Village Board.
  • The Village Board will make the final decision regarding the request.