Why did that intersection get an all way stop? I drove through for years before my curiosity got the better of me.
The road is in the Blue Hills, under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
I sent a letter to the DCR asking for the engineering study and official order that the signs be posted. By law, public records requests should be answered within 10 days.
I heard nothing for seven weeks.
Were they stalling hoping I would lose interest? Most people who ask similar questions have an imminent court date. Maybe they didn’t feel like looking for the records.
After a reminder and three more weeks I had my answer.
The DCR does not have any records showing why the stop signs were posted or even that they are supposed to be posted.
The letter included the standard disclaimer that they were not swearing that no such records ever existed. In theory they could have commissioned an engineering report and recorded commissioners’ votes and then the dog ate the box of papers. I don’t believe that.
Most if not all similar requests get the same response — we have no idea who posted that sign or why.
I know how these people work. Their official policy is they don’t have to follow engineering standards.
Except they do, and I consider that another illegal stop sign.
In Massachusetts you can’t be convicted of disobeying an illegal sign.
You can’t totally ignore it. If I hadn’t been able to swerve around the bicyclist who ran that stop sign, I could have sued his estate for the damage to my paint job. I still thought the sign was legitimate and I had the right to expect him let me take my turn. Similarly, if I hit somebody who assumed I would stop I could still go to jail. Not for running a stop sign, for reckless driving.
But there’s no law saying you have to stop if nobody is around just for the sake of stopping.
As far back as I can easily find the crash rate there has been low. Traffic doesn’t back up. All I can figure is, somebody likes the color red.
Something I’ll keep in mind next time I head to the Blue Hills.
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