A bizarre Clinton Hill intersection has given rise to a new automotive phenomena: stop or go traffic.
Baffled drivers are scratching their heads at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Emerson Place, where they encounter a stop sign on a median directly in front of a traffic light — leaving some motorists wondering whether they should hit the gas or hit the brake when they get a green.
“It makes no sense,” said Hugo Martinez. “It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars to have that sign there.”
The seemingly redundant and often conflicting traffic fixtures actually govern two different roadways, according to the city.
The stoplight is for drivers on Myrtle Avenue while the stop sign is for motorists on a one-way service road that runs parallel to the thoroughfare and terminates at Emerson Place. The service road also boasts a second stop sign on the other sidewalk.
Many Myrtle Avenue drivers ignore the stop and cruise through the light, but others are routinely fooled into pulling up and stopping because the stop sign occupies such a prominent space — and because the roadway is painted with a thick white stripe similar to the ones painted in front of most stop signs.
“I don’t understand it,” said motorist Aubrey Jernigan. “I’ve driven here for years and it’s still funny to me.”
Department of Transportation spokesman Nick Mosquera said it’s commonplace to put stop signs on both sides of a service road and pointed out that despite the confusing traffic signals, there were no fatalities or serious injuries at the intersection between 2006 and 2010.
But Mosquera said the agency would investigate the intersection to see if the stop sign in the median is warranted.
“We will evaluate the signage to ensure that the appropriate traffic controls are clearly visible,” he said.
Drivers said the city should fix the intersection as quickly as possible by removing the superfluous stop sign.
“It messes with a lot of people that come through this intersection,” one motorist said.
—with Ben Lockhart