May 12


About a month ago, small Lindström, MN made the New York Times over a sign in town. Lindström is very proud of it’s Swedish heritage (they have a very good bakery) and they are the sister city to Tingsryd, Sweden.  MnDOT replaced the signs entering town and did not include the double dots above the “ö”, which is a specific letter in Swedish (it’s not exactly an umlaut, apparently).

Lindstrom signThis modified o was a big deal to the city’s elected officials and MnDOT staff wouldn’t back down – the “ö” is not part of the code governing sign lettering.  The governor got involved and Lindstrom is getting back their dotted signs.

I understand the MnDOT engineers not wanting to deviate from the standards, but it would certainly be allowable to have a variance.

This reminds me of my first month on the job as the city traffic engineer in Maple Grove.  The city engineer came in and asked me to look into installing all way stop signs at an intersection in the middle of a quiet neighborhood.  Of course I spouted off the MUTCD warrants and that we probably shouldn’t do it.  He countered that a city council member’s cat was just run over at the intersection and she’d like to see the signs installed.  He gently hinted “is this specific all way stop worth potentially losing your job over?”  Nope.  Welcome to politics!

My hunch is the next tweak on a location sign won’t make it all of the way to the governor’s office to get resolved.




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Mike Spack

My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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