A Thunder Bay woman concerned about the risk of traffic accidents in her neighbourhood wants the city to do something about it.

Grace Saarinen said vehicles routinely roll through stop signs at North Hill and Tupper Streets, and she's asking the city to put up a bigger sign.

Saarinen has lived on Hill Street for nearly 25 years, and said she’s been concerned about the stop sign infractions for almost as long.

Grace Saarinen

Grace Saarinen wants the standard stop sign near her Hill Street home replaced with a larger sign. (Adam Burns/CBC)

Drivers run the stop sign on an almost daily basis, she said, resulting in a lot of close calls.

"I'm mostly worried about the kid on the bike, going across. And when that one gets hit, it's gonna kill me."

Saarinen said she'd like to see the intersection become a four-way stop, but she'd settle for larger signs.

Intersection doesn't fit criteria

City traffic technologist Ryan Love said the traffic volumes and collision rates for the Tupper-Hill intersection don’t point to the necessity of a larger stop sign.

"At this point, I would say no,” he said. “But that doesn't mean we're not going to take a look."

Ryan Love

Thunder Bay traffic technologist Ryan Love says the Tupper-Hill intersection doesn't qualify for an oversized stop sign, but other options exist. (Adam Burns/CBC)

The intersection doesn't meet the criteria for an oversized stop sign, but other options include stripes or signs to warn drivers to slow down.

Saarinen said that drivers simply aren’t seeing the sign.

"When they notice the stop sign, then they'll come to almost a screeching stop,” she said.

“Otherwise, they just go right through. ... You'll see it happen quite regularly, on an almost daily basis."

Thunder Bay has about 20 oversized stop signs, Love said.

"That's probably about one per cent," he said. "We have about 2,000 stop signs."

Under the Ontario Traffic Manual, oversized stop signs must be used under the following circumstances:

  • At the junction of two King's Highways in rural areas.
  • At the junction of any public road with a King's Highway in rural areas.
  • At the junction of two major County or Regional roads.
  • At freeway exit ramp terminals not controlled by traffic signals.

The manual also states that oversized signs may be used in rural areas where two relatively major roads intersect, "and at other locations where special emphasis is required."