August 23


I've lived in my house in St. Louis Park, MN for almost nine years now and I drive through the unorthodox interchange at Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard on a daily basis.  This year, MnDOT "upgraded" the signs on the southbound off ramp.  Below are photos of what they put in. 

This is in no way scientific, but no one I know (me, my wife Jane, or several neighbors I've asked) have ever seen a car parked on this off ramp or seen a car drive the wrong way. I'd like to learn more about the documented problem these signs are solving.

The signs are huge and frankly obnoxious in a neighborhood setting.  Maybe these signs do solve a  problem, but to my semi-educated eye they seem very out of place and a waste of money.  In these days of limited resources, traffic engineers should be trending towards minimilasts when it comes to signs.

Hwy 100-2

Hwy 100-4

Hwy 100-5


  • The No Parking sign that’s twice as large as the Stop Sign seems like a bit of a safety hazard to me. At the 2D perspective of your photo, it grabs my eye much quicker than the Stop Sign. It also goes against Hans Monderman’s theory that minimal (or no) signage forces drivers to be more observant, which you mentioned in your Shared Spaces blog post a few weeks ago. I, as well, would like to know the problem that these large signs are solving. Please report back if you track down a reason.

  • Bigger can be better, if used where needed. If not, smaller is often just as good, and maybe even better.
    I tend towards the theory that using oversized signs were they are not needed is akin to crying wolf.

  • (apologies if double posted, it said it was accepted last week but was not posted as far as I can tell.)
    Interesting, especially that no parking sign. Presumably the no parking additions were done on an informal basis (i.e. “go out and put up signs at every ramp”), so the size may not have been specified and that was what was in the warehouse that day. I’d check to see if other ramps had the same new signs and see what size they are.
    As for the justification, on the wrong way at least, there was a rash of wrong-way crashes on the controlled-access highways here in the DFW area in ’09-10. Usually DUI, often with bad results for the victim car who was going the correct direction. Some cities and the NTTA toll authority have upped their signage standard and retrofitted more and larger wrong-way signs. Plus some lane assignment signs on the arterial trying to show left turns at the second intersection. Some talk about activated signs (i.e. red LED flashing borders when detecting a wrong-way vehicle) but I don’t think anything has been applied yet. Part of the problem may be differences in how those locations are signed by the various municipalities, TxDOT, and NTTA, so I think there is a project in the works to find a consistent standard to apply across the region.

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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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