Stop Signs

Stop signs help control traffic and assign right of way for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. The City receives numerous requests each year to install stop signs to help control unsafe traffic conditions and we strive to thoughtfully evaluate each request. Safety for our residents is our top priority.

In general, stop signs are installed at intersections where drivers cannot safely apply the right-of-way rule. The details of the policy can be found in the council-adopted Stop Sign Installation Policy and Procedures Guide. Because inappropriate use of stop signs can dramatically and negatively change the function of a roadway, we carefully review each request and approve for appropriate uses.

Determining Stop Sign Locations

Stop signs are not a universal solution for traffic concerns. They are an effective traffic management tool when carefully placed. Overuse, as well as underuse, of stop signs, can create unsafe conditions. The city only installs stop signs when they are the appropriate device to control the intersection or the flow of the traffic.

How Does the City Decide Where To Put a Stop Sign?

Cities in the State of California are required by law to use the California Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) which is the state version of the Federal Highway Administration MUTCD from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Every state in the US is required by law to adopt the Federal MUTCD. The MUTCD tells cities when and where to install a stop sign.

We have developed a stop sign policy based on the guidelines in the California MUTCD and adapted it for the particular needs of the City of San Mateo.

Some of the items evaluated to determine the installation of a stop sign include:
  • Amount of traffic
  • Type of intersection
  • History of collision
  • Visibility of oncoming traffic while approaching the intersection
Our team of engineers will review each request for any unique circumstances and will exercise engineering judgment on a case-by-case basis. We will evaluate each request using the guidelines identified in our local policy document. Depending on complexity, a full evaluation can take several months.

You can request that the city evaluate the need for a stop sign by filling out the Stop Sign Request Form and submitting to our office.