Keep road signs off sidewalks

Keep road work signs off our sidewalks

Road work signs that block sidewalks violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Likewise for signs that put people at risk of whacking their heads. The minimum height of signs – measured from the bottom of the sign to the sidewalk – is seven feet.MUTCD requirement prohibiting sign supports on sidewalks

Signs that block sidewalks also violate the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which many refer to as the “bible” of the transportation engineering profession.

The MUTCD states that neither portable nor permanent signs sign supports should be located on sidewalks, bicycle facilities, or areas designated for pedestrian or bicycle traffic.

Despite that, people encounter signs like these throughout Atlanta. 

Asking residents to play whac-a-mole is not a solution.

lane closed ahead sign

For someone with a disability, this sign says sidewalk closed here.

Public Works officials encourage people to call 311 to report  signs like these. 

The problem is systemic, so relying on residents to report road signs will not solve the problem. It also discriminates against people who don’t know how to “work the system,” many of whom live in zero-car households.

Rather than rely on residents to report problems, Public Works should enforce laws prohibiting sign supports from being located on sidewalks.

The fact that locating signs in the road can be complicated, and require additional costs isn’t an excuse for locating them on sidewalks.

Take action: Ask City Council to tell Public Works to demand education, inspection and enforcement.

Ask City Council members to insist that Public Works stop allowing contractors and city crews to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Also ask them to insist that Public Works monitor signs, enforce regulations and fine violators.

Atlanta can do better. Atlanta must do better. With your help, we’ll unblock the walk.

Meanwhile, do it yourself.

When you see a sign blocking the sidewalk, please snap a photo, write down the address, and e-mail your City Council representatives.

Meanwhile, tactical urbanism – a buzzword for cheap, temporary changes that improve our streets and communities — is a great way to help. If you encounter a sign blocking the sidewalk, move it.