Frequently Asked Questions:
May I have a "children at play" sign on my street?
National standards and City of Northport policy do not recognize the "Children at Play" signs for these reasons: warning signs are designed and intended to advise motorists of an unusual or unexpected physical roadway condition ahead. Signs such as this give the wrong message to both children and parents, fostering a false sense of security. There is no evidence to show that these signs help reduce the number of pedestrian accidents or lower travel speeds.
The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) does not support these signs because the signs are suggesting that it is acceptable behavior for children to play in the streets.
May I have a speed limit sign on my street?
In accordance with City Ordinances, unless posted otherwise, the speed limit in a residential or business district is 25 MPH with or without the presence of a speed limit sign. Although not required, 25 MPH speed limit signs may be posted at entrances to residential or business areas. Multiple postings of 25 MPH speed limit signs on residential streets not only detract from a neighborhood's curb appeal, but it often fails to achieve the desired result of reducing the speed of motorists.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) published by the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Administration Highway is the national set of standards for traffic engineering. The MUTCD recommends that the following five (5) factors be evaluated to establish safe and reasonable speed zones:
- Roadway characteristics such as shoulder condition, grade, alignment, and sight distances.
- Speed characteristics such as the 85th percentile speed.
- Roadside development and friction.
- Roadway curves and hazardous locations on and along the roadway.
- Parking and pedestrian activity.
How does a traffic signal know if a car is present?
There is a wire in the pavement behind the crosswalk/stop bar called a loop detector. The wire creates an electric field in the air above the pavement. When a large object interrupts the electric field, the signal knows that a vehicle is present and will provide a green light at the proper time in the established traffic signal cycle. During peak travel times, the wait should be a maximum of two minutes. During non-peak travel times, the wait should be a maximum of 90 seconds.
Some people think that if they back up and drive forward again, they will make the signal change quicker. This does not work. The mechanism does not count the number of vehicles waiting.
At some locations, motorcycles or "high-rider" vehicles will not be able to interrupt the electrical field. If this occurs, please note the street, the intersection, the lane, and the time of day and report this to the Traffic Engineering Division. Some people feel that if they get out of their car and push the pedestrian button, they will get the green light quicker. They will not. The pedestrian push-button does not make the green light come on sooner. It does make the green light longer. It takes longer for a person to walk across a street than it takes for a car to drive across a street.