Earlier this week, Ramsgate & Lineberry streets had a new street sign installed. This is occurring throughout the neighborhood and around the city. I was curious about the new signs and decided to contact Public Works to find out more. The following is an email interview with Senior Transportation Engineer, Jed Niffenegger, PE from the City of Raleigh’s Public Works Department.
Are the new street signs a replacement program?
The FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) came out with a new ruling in January of this year. They are requiring all States, Municipalities, Townships and counties to update all regulator and street marker signs to a more reflective sheeting. Sheeting is the reflective “tape” that covers the bare aluminum and helps motorist see the sign.
Can you describer the features of the new signs?
The White boarder and features on the street markers are a newer feature that all street signs will soon have. The new type sheeting required by the FHWA provides a noticeable improvement to the old architectural sheeting. One form of the new sheeting has “diamond” shaped patterns to help reflect light. It appears the sign in the photo you sent has this type of sheeting.
What is the schedule for replacing signs with the new white bordered, reflective signs?
We have already begun replacing all of the regulatory and street markers that are not up to the new standard. We have a seven year period for regulatory and ten for street markers.
Tell me a little about the diamond shaped signs we see before approaching an intersection, what are those called and is there a program for that?
The “diamond shaped signs” you refer to are a “signal ahead” signs with supplemental plates. The supplemental plates have the road names on them. I am not sure when the one on your road was installed but the city has done two different phases of having these installed. The first was two+ years ago. The city did a pilot program to install the supplemental plates on existing “signal ahead” signs. There was a positive response from citizens regarding the installation of these signs. Last fall Rebecca Duffy oversaw a project to have “signal ahead” signs and supplemental plates installed along the arterials and most of the major thoroughfares. Approximately 450 signs were installed in the city. The intent was to increase safety at signalized intersection by providing the motorist information in advance. This in turn decreases sudden stops and unsafe lane changes at the intersections. I do not believe that we have any immediate plans to install more. These signs are recognized in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The MUTCD is the national standard for signs, pavement markings and signals. We use this manual for all of our roadway signs.
Who do we contact for more information?
Public Works Department
222 West Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27602