Does greater visibility mean greater safety?

Soon after the city placed six stop signs at Norwalk's most dangerous intersection, there was an accident. On March 19, Norwalk driver Michael P. Gordon, 55, did not see local motorist Amy S. Allton, 30, who was heading west on Cleveland Road. After stopping at the Old State Road stop sign, Gordon pulled into the intersection and hit Allton's Honda Civic on the left front side, Norwalk Police Officer Janet Lichoff wrote in her report.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

Soon after the city placed six stop signs at Norwalk's most dangerous intersection, there was an accident.

On March 19, Norwalk driver Michael P. Gordon, 55, did not see local motorist Amy S. Allton, 30, who was heading west on Cleveland Road. After stopping at the Old State Road stop sign, Gordon pulled into the intersection and hit Allton's Honda Civic on the left front side, Norwalk Police Officer Janet Lichoff wrote in her report.

Gordon was charged with a stop sign violation in the collision that caused disabling damage to both vehicles.

"Other than that, we haven't had any other issues (there)," Chief Kevin Cashen said.

Some residents have told Norwalk Safety-Service Director Dale Sheppard that the stop signs are more visible at the intersection. One day after the signs went up, he was heading north on Old State Road near the water treatment plant and could see the flashing signs clearly.

"They call them Christmas tree lights," Sheppard said. "The outside of the stop signs flash LED lights."

Before drivers approach the stop signs, there are diamond-shaped signs warning them of an upcoming intersection.

"I have not heard anything positive or negative about (the signs at) the intersection," Sheppard said. "People have called to say they can see the stop signs better."

Police ranked the Cleveland-Old State intersection as the worst with the most accidents in 2006 with nine the same number it had two years ago. There were seven crashes in 2005, making it the third highest accident site.

After doing a traffic study this year, an engineer determined a stop light was not warranted, but decided to try posting a stop sign to see if that improved traffic flow, Cashen said.

"If that didn't help, we'd look at a stop signal," the police chief added.

The decision to add a stop sign originated with the safety council after discussing the issue with Norwalk City Council.