The intersection of Jim Starr Road and Happy Valley Circle will soon become a three-way stop.
Currently, there is only a stop sign on Jim Starr Road. There is a left-turn lane from Happy Valley Circle, which will become a striped median when the three-way stop goes into effect.
The Coweta County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the change, after a presentation from Tod Handley, Coweta’s director of transportation and engineering.
Handley said he was contacted by a resident who lives in the curve at the intersection with some concerns. The man asked the county to consider a three-way stop to help with safety getting out of his driveway.
The county did some traffic counts and found that traffic on Jim Starr, in particular, has increased dramatically in the past few years. A lot of the increase likely stems from the opening of Brooks Elementary, and it was observed that many vehicles in the morning and afternoon turn onto Jim Starr, drop off or pick up children, and return to Happy Valley.
The daily traffic count on Jim Starr was 1,803. That’s up from just 630 in 2007 – a 186 percent increase. In 2009, when the school opened, the traffic count was 1,193.
The daily count on Happy Valley was 1,165 on the eastern side and 961 on the southern side.
The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the standard for intersection control nationwide, says three-way stops are appropriate for intersections with roughly the same amount of traffic on all three sides.
While the traffic on Jim Starr is higher during peak times, it’s roughly equal during other times, according to Handley.
With the traffic counts and some historical information, Handley said his department is recommending moving forward with the three-way stop.
The left-turn lane will have to go because there is no way to put a stop sign there that would be visible to motorists in the lane, according to Handley.
The county will put out signs to inform motorists of the upcoming change, and those will be in place at least a week, he said. Stop bars will need to be painted, as well.
The new stop signs should be in place within 30 days.