Streets & Alleys

Traffic Signs, Signals & Markings

The Federal Highway Administration requires that all cities must have a policy designed to maintain sign retro-reflectivity at or above the established minimum levels enacted by June 13, 2014. Retro-reflectivity refers to a surface’s ability to reflect light back to its source with minimal light scattering. When the headlights of a car illuminate a retro-reflective surface, the reflected light is directed towards the car and its driver. As signs age, their retro-reflectivity degrades, reducing visibility to drivers.

Under the old rules, cities were required to comply with the minimum retro-reflectivity requirements for all regulatory signs (such as stop signs and speed limit signs), yellow “warning” signs and green/white “guide” signs by January 22, 2015. Cities were required to comply with the minimum retro-reflectivity requirements for overhead guide signs and all street name signs by January 22, 2018. Under the new rules, the 2015 and 2018 compliance dates have been eliminated to provide cities and other governmental units the flexibility to allocate scarce financial resources based on local conditions and the useful service life of its traffic signs. Even without a specific compliance date, cities will still need to replace any sign identified as not meeting the established minimum retro-reflectivity levels.

Policy Approval

At the City Council meeting on January 28, 2013, Council approved a Signs, Traffic Signals, Traffic Markings, Pavement Striping and Retro-reflectivity Policy (PDF), therefore meeting the first requirement of having a policy in place by the June 2014 deadline. In March 2010, the city conducted a retro-reflectivity survey of all street signs. With this data, a replacement schedule for signs not meeting the requirement was established. The policy requires the city to inspect one-third of its 4,375 signs each year. It also describes the method used for inspecting signs and how signs will be replaced.

In addition, the policy also identifies traffic signals and who is responsible for their maintenance. Pavement markings along with pavement striping are identified in the policy and states that they will be inspected yearly and painted accordingly.