Can I change a two-way road to a one-way road?

The Town Board can authorize the change after an engineering study has been completed. It is recommended that the Town Board confer with the Town Attorney regarding proper procedures to follow. Below are some of the details that need to be reviewed prior to making any changes:

The Town Board has the authority to change a two-way road to a one-way road, by “ordinance, order, rule or regulation”, “Designate and highway or any separate roadway thereof for one-way traffic” (V&T Law: Section 1660(a)16).

Section 1A.07 of the National MUTCD states that “The responsibility for the design, placement, operation, maintenance, and uniformity of traffic control devices shall rest with the public agency or the official having jurisdiction, or, in the case of private roads open to public travel, with the private owner or private official having jurisdiction.”The local agency should determine the need to authorize, place and maintain traffic control devices necessary to satisfy the legal requirements and to promote the safe, efficient flow of traffic.

Since it is a regulatory sign, the MUTCD recommends that jurisdictions seek engineering assistance prior to any changes in “Jurisdictions, or owners of private roads open to public travel, with responsibility for traffic control that do not have engineers on their staffs who are trained and/or experienced in traffic control devices should seek engineering assistance from other, such as the State transportation agency, their county, a nearby large city, or a traffic engineer consultant” (MUTCD: Section 1A.09: Engineering Study and Engineering Judgment). Following this provision may reduce the liability incurred with a misplaced or incorrect sign usage.

Once a need/ or an improvement is warranted for the change of traffic flow, the Town board would by “ordinance, order, rule or regulation”, authorize the Highway Superintendent to install and maintain the signage.  It is recommended when making a change to a traffic pattern that an advanced notice of the change be made well in advance of the actual change and advanced signage to notify drivers of the change in traffic flow upon the change of flow.

The MUTCD and the New York State Supplement to the National MUTCD provide guidance on the specific signs and their placement.

References

Vehicle and Traffic Law: Section 1660. Traffic regulation in all towns

National MUTCD

New York State Supplement to the National MUTCD

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