LINCOLN, Nebr. (KOLN) Driving down nearly any road in town, there are a lot of instructions for us to follow.
How fast to drive.
Where to park.
Can we make a U-turn or not?
Almost as soon as a city is born, the need quickly follows for signs to help people find what they are looking for, and to support an agreed-upon set of community rules.
On an average commute, we probably see hundreds of signs telling us where we can go, and where we can stop.
"Knowing where you are going and how to get there is utmost," says Michael Lammli, senior traffic technician for the City of Lincoln. "And that's why we do have all the signs. It's to get people where they are going safely."
The city of Lincoln has thousands of signs on the streets that need to be maintained -- especially on slippery days like today. And the seven-person crew at the City's sign shop are all there to make things right again -- at least as far as the signage is concerned.
Lincoln now spans over 100 square miles. And the city is woven together with streets -- and signs. Today, the sign shop reports that about 70,000 signs are dutifully providing us all direction throughout the cities streets, parks, and other points of interest.
The ice of winter creates a busy time of the year for sign repair. While police notify the sign shop about some of the downed signs, but the best source of information are our citizens.
"Most of our (repair/replacement) requests come from citizens . . . they'll report it on Uplink . . . an online app . . . or they'll call us," Lammli says.
The sign that is most often replaced? The "Keep Right" sign on the nose of the median. It's goal is to keep you off of the median, but too often, circumstances still put it in harm's way.
The most prolific sign in Lincoln. Hands down, it is the many incarnations of the "No Parking" sign.
The City keeps about 10,000 signs of all descriptions on reserve. Most are ordered from an outside provider (but made in the USA), but filling those orders can take 60 to 90 days. When a replacement is more urgent, they have the raw materials to make signs themselves.
"There are signs that if we need a quick turnaround, we'll have the materials here that we can assemble those signs in 24 hours or less we can have a new sign," Lammli says.