Why are the street name signs in Westwood being replaced?
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) which has been administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) since 1971, is a compilation of national standards for all traffic control devices, including road markings, highway signs, and traffic signals. It is updated periodically to accommodate the nation's changing transportation needs and address new safety technologies, traffic control tools and traffic management techniques. The MUTCD is adopted formally by each State Transportation Department, including the State of Kansas, in order to continue to receive Federal Highway Dollars. New standards say cities and states must improve the reflective abilities of words on road signs so they are clearer when headlights shine on them at night and increase the size of the letters and the style of the letters to make them uniform and more legible from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
What are some of these new standards?
These new rules in MUTCD are applicable to even the most basic signs such as stop signs and other street signs. As per the new federal regulations the mounted signs that need to be attached to a pole shall be at least seven feet high from the ground level to the bottom for the traffic sign. Moreover, there exist even new rules for the street signs as per the speed limit in the relevant traffic zone that requires installation of the signs. If the speed limit is less than 30 mph, then the street sign needs to be eight inches in height from top to bottom along with 4 inches tall lettering on it. If the speed limit is 30 mph or greater, then the sign needs to be 12 inches in height with 6 inches tall lettering. As a result, the street name signs along Shawnee Mission Parkway, Rainbow Blvd, Mission Rd, State Line Rd and 47th Street in Westwood will be replaced with larger street name signs than those currently in place.
What about the street names?
The federal regulations also call for street-name signs to switch from all capital letters to upper and lower case; they can no longer be in ALL CAPS.
Will all street name signs look the same everywhere?
No, the new street name signs in Westwood will now include the Westwood city logo. Other near-by municipalities have included city specific markings on street names signs which helps demarcate the boundary of each city. For example, the City of Fairway includes their city's leaf logo on Fairway’s green street name signs. The City of Roeland Park's street signs have a blue background; while Prairie Village’s street name signs include their city ‘Star’ logo on blue signs. Both Westwood Hills and Mission Woods also have street name sign designs and colors unique to their city.