Our opinion: PennDOT says so

If the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says a traffic signal is not required at an intersection of a state-maintained road, who are we to disagree?

OK, we won’t, although we’re a bit surprised. It causes one to wonder why the signal was there for decades, for all the years prior to the construction of the Clark Street Garage that prompted scores of people who work in those blocks north of Pennsylvania Avenue in the Liberty Street business district to cross that intersection south to north in the morning and north to south in the evening.

Nevertheless, the state says it’s so, and with that verdict in hand, Warren City Council would be hard-pressed to justify spending the $150,000 to replace that traffic signal at Penn and Liberty of its own volition and purse.

So, with the thought in mind that the four-way stop will remain the rule, and given the all-too-common experience of watching in frustration as drivers and pedestrians become snarled, let us provide the definitive rule from the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual:

A FOUR-WAY STOP sign means there are four stop signs at this intersection. Traffic from all four directions must stop. The first vehicle to reach the intersection should move forward first. If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right. If facing one another both can proceed with caution, watching for possible turns.

As for pedestrians, in a marked crosswalk, they have the right of way. That does not mean that they simply saunter, skip and dance helter skelter through a busy intersection without regard for traffic. Only a fool or someone lacking the survival instinct walks in front of a moving motor vehicle. Pedestrians should also be responsible and cautious. Like the drivers around you, stop and look both ways before you cross.

Tomorrow: The Penn-Liberty Paradigm and an intersection near you.