Signs, Lines, and Good Times

Oct 10, 2018
Blog_Fall Foliage Road_Mobile_2018

Written by Neil Olinski, MS, PTP, Lead Transportation Planner

While the majority of traffic signs on public roads are uniform across the USA, variations in color, wording, and imagery on some signs—particularly those on local roads—can be confusing to some people, such as out-of-state drivers. So, if you’re planning to do some leaf peeping this fall and find yourself driving in unfamiliar territory, make sure to drive cautiously and slow down if you come across traffic signs (and other traffic control elements) that you don’t recognize.    

One relatively new traffic control installation you might see is a HAWK signal (High-intensity Activated CrossWalk beacon), also referred to as a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon. As part of MMI’s design of the Farmington Canal Greenway, one of the first HAWK signals in Connecticut was installed at the greenway crossing with Route 70 in Cheshire, CT. Corresponding with this still relatively uncommon device is signage informing motorists of when to stop and when to proceed.

Below are some other relatively new signs you may see that are intended to remind motorists that bicyclists and other non-motorized users may be present.

These signs can supplement pavement markings reminding motorists that bicyclists are also allowed to use the street. The Shared Lane Markings, also known as Sharrows, are sometimes installed on streets with slower speeds and that are narrow. Sharrows were added to Bank Street in downtown New London, CT, for example, as part of a road-diet that came out of recent transportation study produced by MMI for the city.

As you get further into the hinterlands, don’t be surprised if you see signs unique to the rural environment.  Some are timely warnings of unique dangers, while others may merely reinforce a community’s identity.  While you’re on the road this fall, make sure to stay safe, keep others safe, and drive cautiously for the conditions at hand. And if you run into any issues or have questions about traffic signs, signals, and the like, make sure to let us know.