Traffic Control Signage

The City of Chanhassen Engineering Department often receives requests for the installation of various traffic control devices to increase safety in residential neighborhoods by slowing traffic through the installation of signs. The following is a summary of common devices requested and their documented effect on driver behavior. If, after reviewing this information, a resident believes that he or she knows of an intersection which may warrant a sign, they are encouraged to call the City of Chanhassen’s Engineering Department at 952-227-1160.

"Children At Play" Signs
Some cities have posted “CHILDREN AT PLAY” signs in residential areas despite studies showing that generalized signs warning of Normal Conditions such as children in a residential area fail to achieve the desired safety benefits. "CHILDREN AT PLAY" signs may give parents and children a false sense of security as the sign is assumed to provide protection which in reality it does not. Due to these serious considerations, federal standards no longer recommend the use of "CHILDREN AT PLAY" signs. Special conditions such as warnings of school zones, playgrounds, parks and other recreational facilities, do warrant signing as these are not easily anticipated by drivers.

Speed Limits

Speed limits are set by state statute. Requests for speed limit changes are evaluated by MnDOT based on traffic studies analyzing the roadway conditions, accident records, and current traffic speeds. Check out MnDOT's website at for additional information.

Although it is a commonly held belief that posting a speed limit sign will reduce speeds, research indicates that drivers are influenced more by the appearance of the road itself and the prevailing traffic conditions than by the posted speed limit. The maximum speed limits for passenger vehicles as established by Minnesota statute are:
  • Alleys: 15 mph
  • Residential streets: 30 mph
  • Urban Freeways and Highways: 60 mph
  • Freeways outside urban areas: 70 mph
Speed limits are maximums under ideal conditions. State law requires that "No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable in regard to weather, visibility, traffic and the surface and width of the roadway. Under no circumstances shall a person operate a vehicle at a speed that endangers the safety of persons or property."

If speed limit signs are posted artificially low, many drivers will ignore posted limits while some drivers will stay within the posted limits. This creates a conflict between faster and slower moving drivers and an increase in the number of accidents. In addition, the number of gaps of traffic where crossings by pedestrians and cross traffic could be made are reduced.

Speed Limits: Why Do We Need Them?

Stop Signs

A stop sign is a regulatory sign which causes a substantial inconvenience to motorists. National federal standards have specific criteria for the installation of a stop sign. When used correctly, a stop sign is one of the most effective traffic control devices available.

Stop signs are often requested to control speeds and/or to encourage traffic to use other routes. A stop sign is ineffective as a comprehensive speed control device. Stop signs installed without meeting proper criteria, result in high occurrence of violations and increased disrespect for traffic signs in general. Speed reduction is usually only effective in the immediate vicinity of the stop sign. Increased speeds between intersections often occur as drivers attempt to make up time lost.

Where stop signs are installed as nuisances, most drivers recognize it as an unreasonable restriction and many choose to roll through the sign or ignore it completely. Inappropriate stop signs can create a false sense of security for pedestrians and an attitude of contempt for all traffic signs.

Stop Signs: Why Do We Have Them?

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