The question came in that a town wanted to post a stop sign at the intersection of a private and town road due to some near accidents. The town wanted to know if it could post a stop sign on the private road. The new MUTCD guidelines answer this question in the following two parts:
MUTCD: Title 23 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 655.603 states that “for the purpose of MUTCD applicability, the phrase “‘open to public travel”’ includes toll roads and roads within shopping centers, parking lots, airports, sports arenas, and other similar business and recreation facilities that are privately owned but where the public is allowed to travel without access restrictions. Except for gated toll roads, roads within private gated properties where access is restricted at all times are not included in this definition. Parking areas, driving aisles within parking areas, and private highway-rail grade crossings are also not included in this definition.”
MUTCD: Private roads open to public travel are now subject to the same traffic control standards as public streets and highways. Owners or parties responsible for such private roads are encouraged to bring the traffic control devices into compliance with the MUTCD and other applicable State Manuals, and those who do not may find themselves exposed to increased tort liability. State and local jurisdictions can encourage MUTCD compliance on private roads by incorporating pertinent language into zoning requirements, building and occupancy permits, and similar controls that they exercise over private properties.
VLR: Remember a regulatory device such as a stop sign has to go into the town’s traffic ordinance in order to be enforced, according to 23VSA Section 1971 and 1973 address procedures for adopting and amending an ordinance.