Over the course of six months, and one more day in June for good measure, I researched the amount of stops and non-stops at the stop sign located at the corner of South Broadway and Fletcher between the Crookston Times and U.S. Postal Office buildings.
Over the course of six months, and one more day in June for good measure, I researched the amount of stops and non-stops at the stop sign located at the corner of South Broadway and Fletcher between the Crookston Times and U.S. Postal Office buildings. The idea came to me after years of watching people outside my office window rolling through the stop sign or not stopping at all. I was curious about the average number of people that actually do make a complete stop at the stop sign there.
Maybe you’ll find this information surprising, maybe you won’t. Either way, here’s what I observed.
First, there was no rhyme or reason to the dates and times I chose to conduct my research. I knew I wanted it to be random, but also wanted to make sure I was able to keep good track of the traffic.
I started making marks on November 30, 2018 at 10:39 a.m. On my list were categories “Stopped” and “Didn’t Stop”, and marks for the number of cars that did either action during that timeframe which happened to be an hour and 41 minutes that day. I logged 41 stopped and 33 that didn’t stop. Going forward, I quickly noticed that the number for both categories were quite close meaning there was almost as many drivers that didn’t stop as there were that did actually make a complete stop.
The next time I logged was December 3 at 9 a.m. for two-and-a-half hours adding in two five-minute breaks for time I was not able to observe. That day, I observed 30 stops and 55 drivers that didn’t stop. I also made a note that said one driver that didn’t stop almost hit another vehicle.
After this log, I decided it might be best to keep some side notes of things I observed like possible reasons for not stopping. Interestingly, over the course of a few months, some of the reasons I noted for people not stopping were that the driver had an animal in their lap, they were on the phone, or they were eating. I also noted if there was a specific reason that someone did stop like if they stopped to blow their nose, stopped to take a bite of something they were eating, stopped to light up a cigarette, stopped to text or call, stopped to put on their seatbelt, or they had to stop as there were too many cars coming in the lane they’d like to turn into.
The next day, December 4, I logged 33 stops and 33 non-stops over an hour and 36 minutes, and the day after, December 5, I logged 22 stops and 29 non-stops over two hours and 11 minutes. Then, I took a couple weeks off and started again. December 18 there were 47 stops and 47 non-stops over two hours. December 19 there were 22 stops and 34 non-stops over two hours time with a thirty-minute break from observation.
On December 28, the day after a blizzard, I logged nine stops and 12 non-stops over two hours.
The trend started going the other way for more people stopping, or at least a tie between the two, in January with 31 stops and 25 non- stops over an hour-and-a- half on January 2, and a tie of 26 stops and non-stops over an hour-and-a-half January 14.
I think the winter started getting to me about that point as I took a couple months break until March. On March 20, for an hour and 33 minutes, there were 13 stops and 15 non-stops; March 21 there were four stops and nine non-stops over an hour-and-a-half, and March 26 there were 14 stops and 27 non-stops over two- and-a-half hours. On the 21st, I noted that three of the first four cars that didn’t stop didn’t even slow down and some larger delivery trucks didn’t bother, either.
Curious as to who exactly didn’t stop at that stop sign during the observation period? All kinds of drivers. You can include city officials and employees, community leaders, law enforcement, CEOs, Times’ employees (no, we’re not innocent either), bus and taxi drivers, business owners, delivery truck drivers including one very large liquor delivery truck that almost hit another car causing that car to swerve into another lane, business truck and van drivers, plow operators for both the city and state, parents with school- aged children in the vehicle, and many, many more.
Two of the final days of observation were pretty spaced out. Second to last was on April 11 for three hours where I observed 21 stops and 27 non-stops. The last was June 20, the day for good measure, where I logged nine stops and 20 non-stops in an hour. Funny enough, during June’s observation period, it was time for Trinity Lutheran Church’s Annual Rhubarb Festival to begin. Coincidence for the amount of non-stops for people driving straight to Trinity? Probably not.
So, what have we learned here? People need to start making complete stops at stop signs no matter where they are. It’s about the safety of other drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and the safety of the driver themselves. Everyone is in a hurry these days, but the law is the law. Maybe my next project should be observing drivers who don’t stop for pedestrians or bicyclists...