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Leave the signing to us!

This past week there was a flurry of media coverage of unauthorized citizen alterations to street signs in the Maple Leaf neighborhood.  While it may seem funny or that the changes were needed, doing it yourself isn’t the way to go about it.  First off, Washington State law, prohibits adding or altering official traffic signs. Illegal revisions of signs could result in harm to innocent drivers.

SDOT adheres to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) which defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public traffic to “keep them moving safely to their destinations.” The MUTCD has been published and administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) since 1971 under the 23rd Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 655, Subpart F.

The MUTCD is compilation of national standards for all traffic control devices, including road markings, highway signs, and traffic signals. It is updated periodically to accommodate the nation’s changing transportation needs and address new safety technologies, traffic control tools and traffic management techniques. The MUTCD is safety-based and sets forth the required signage for every possible circumstance which is determined by, for example,  traffic volumes, roadway dimensions, number of accidents at a given location etc.

If you feel a new traffic sign is needed or if you have questions about existing traffic signs, please contact us so we can follow-up on your concern.  We will do an on-site evaluation if necessary, research our data and determine what, if anything, should be done.  Please send your request to or call us at 206-684-0353.  SDOT has posted the answers to common “Frequently Asked Questions” about traffic signs and other traffic issues at If an existing  sign has been damaged, altered, knocked down, or removed, please contact our 24 hour dispatch line, 206-386-1206, so we can correct the situation.

Removing and replacing illegal signs requires staff time which is a misuse of taxpayer dollars. We are here to manage and provide safe driving conditions and we need your help to do so.  Please leave the signing to us.