Adding a stop sign at RHS


Back on Aug. 21, 2016, I sent the following email to our City Manager (David Ridpath).

“David, I think it would be a good idea for you or someone on your staff to take a look at the street signs at the intersection of 6th Street, Scott Street and the back entrance to Radford High School. In my opinion, a stop sign is needed for those leaving the high school entrance. It is very confusing for those drivers (myself included) driving up Scott and turning left onto 6th Street. I have just recently witnessed several near accidents there due to drivers not knowing who has the right away.”

David’s prompt reply of Aug. 22, 2016 stated, “This intersection has been evaluated, as traffic has demanded several times over the years and most recently by the professional engineers, Anderson and Associates, that designed the Second Avenue/Park Road improvements. I will have our folks take another look, now that school has reopened and sporting events are underway.”

On Aug. 30, 2016, I sent the following email to our School Superintendent (Rob Graham) and the Principal of Radford High School (Jeff Smith). “I am sending you this email to see if you agree with my observations as to the safety issue at the intersection of 6th Street, Scott Street and the back entrance to the RHS campus. It is my belief a stop sign should be installed for traffic leaving the RHS campus at this intersection. It is very confusing as to who has the right away. I solicit your support as I see this as a safety issue to our students, staff and visitors to the High School campus arriving and departing via this entrance. I also think the 25 miles per hour speed limit sign within the campus needs to be changed to 15 MPH. There is a great deal of foot traffic that uses this entrance. If you are in agreement with this recommendation would you let David Ridpath know?”

I should have added to that email that I think a sidewalk was needed from the Scott Street pathway to connect with the sidewalk outside the King Building.

On Aug. 30, 2016, Jeff replied, “Thanks for your email. I will defer to the judgement of the traffic engineers.”

I followed with this email Aug. 31. “These statements came from the Virginia DMV website: You must always stop your vehicle: for pedestrians attempting to cross the street at a crosswalk; when entering a street or crossing over a sidewalk from a driveway, alley, building or parking lot; when entering a roadway from a private road or driveway. This last statement describes the situation at RHS where a stop sign is required.”

On Aug. 31, I received this reply from Jeff Smith. “Scott Street is actually a city street. It is not a private road or driveway.” Rob Graham replied, “Thanks for your email and interest in the safety of our school division. Mr. Ridpath and I will certainly discuss your concern.”

Here we are, now 4 months later, and still no stop sign. Did you know the RHS campus has yet another exit without a stop sign? Yes, you got it right. It is the exit from the small parking lot right behind Dalton Intermediate School. If there were an accident there, who would be at fault? Would it be driver “A” or driver “B” and/or the city for not having a required stop sign? There are two other signs that the professional engineers, Anderson and Associates, overlooked. There are no “SCHOOL” signs painted on Scott Street or on 6th Street as you approach the back entrance to RHS. I call it the back entrance but it is the main entrance for staff, parents, deliveries, etc., into the RHS campus. This doesn’t say much for reliance on paid professional expertise. Why would you just accept a professional engineer’s decision? This is a safety issue. What happened to common sense decision-making in Radford City?

James D. “Tuck” Bird,


Editor’s note: Radford City Spokesperson Jenni Wilder reiterated the city’s stance on the stop sign in a Feb. 16 email to the Radford News Journal.

“Radford’s City Manager responded to Mr. Bird’s email regarding placement of a stop sign on Scott Street, at the Sixth Street intersection, in August of 2016.

The response came after the City Manager consulted with the Superintendent of Radford City Schools, Radford High School Principal and the Radford City Police Chief.

The intersection in question has been evaluated, as traffic has demanded several times over the years and most recently by the professional engineers, Anderson and Associates, who designed the Second Avenue/Park Road improvement project. The City of Radford must conform to VDOT standards and regulations when installing traffic control.

VDOT uses an evaluation system to decide if a stop sign is needed, the criteria include: traffic volume, speed, accidents and sight distance. Comments are also taken into consideration; however, outside of Mr. Bird’s request, there have been no complaints. Based on this criteria no stop sign is warranted.”

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