A Guide to
Traffic Signs and Signals
As a result of population and economic
growth, Kalamazoo County has experienced SIGNSAND
increased traffic volume on county roads.
To safely manage this expanded traffic and For more information
to permit the smooth flow of vehicles, both This brochure has been prepared
along major roads and from side roads, to provide information about County Roads
additional traffic signs and signals have traffic signs and signals.
become necessary. Such signs and signals are If you have further questions
installed, however, only after careful analysis or concerns about county-road
of traffic patterns, accidents and volumes to traffic issues, we invite you
determine if they are warranted. Inappropriate to call us or visit our offices
placement can compound a problem and between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.,
even increase the risk of accidents. Monday through Friday.
If you are concerned about traffic problems
All programs, activities and services are provided equally without
at a specific location on a county-maintained regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin or handicap.
road, please call, fax or email us. The Road
Commission will inspect the location you cite
considering state rules, and then respond to
3801 East Kilgore Road
you its findings. Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Telephone: (269) 381-3171
Fax: (269) 381-1760
Printed on recycled paper Rev. 2007
Traffic Signs Traffic Signals KCRC role in traffic signs,
Traffic signs come in a variety of shapes and Traffic signals interrupt vehicle traffic flow at signals, speed limits
designs. But their purpose is singular—to make intersections to permit orderly pedestrian and The Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic
driving as safe and efficient as possible for you, vehicle movement. They also are installed to help Control Devices is the Kalamazoo County
the motorist. avoid certain types of accidents —such as right- Road Commission’s definitive reference on
There are three types of traffic signs: angle collisions. traffic signs and signals. This joint publication
Although it is commonly believed that traffic of the Michigan Department of Transportation
Regulatory signs signals can solve all traffic problems at intersec- and the Michigan Department of State Police
N Speed limit signs tions, unwarranted signals can lead to excessive clearly indicates under what circumstances
These signs are based on what is the reasonable delay, disobedience of signal indications, increased signals and signs are warranted.
and prudent speed for a given road. A traffic and accident frequency—especially the rear-end type, The Road Commission also enjoys a cooper-
engineering study is often conducted to determine and the use of less adequate routes to try to ative relationship with the Kalamazoo County
the properly posted speed limit. In addition, a avoid signals. Sheriff’s Department, which offers traffic-
prima facie speed limit may be established based The State of Michigan has developed a set of control recommendations. The responsibility
on the number of vehicular access points on a eight guidelines, called warrants, for use in deter- for setting speed limits on county-maintained
road segment. mining whether a traffic signal is needed. The most roads is shared by the Road Commission, your
N Yield signs closely reviewed warrants include: local township and the Michigan State Police,
N Stop signs N Minimum vehicular volume with the local police and the Kalamazoo
N Parking signs Is sufficient traffic coming from the side road County Sheriff’s Department providing the
to require a signal? vital role of enforcement.
N Weight limit signs
N Interruption of continuous traffic The Road Commission purchases ready-
N Turn prohibition signs
made traffic signs and maintains all traffic
N Lane-use control signs Is the main road’s traffic flow so constant that
signs on county roads. Traffic signs and signals
side-road traffic cannot enter or cross the
are routinely checked to determine maintenance
Warning signs main road?
needs. Vandalism of traffic signs is a constant,
These generally diamond-shaped warning signs N Accident experience
costly problem, consuming dollars that could
are necessary to alert motorists to existing or Has a significant number of right-angle be used for other road needs.
potential conditions on, ahead or adjacent to the accidents occurred at this intersection?
roadway that may require increased awareness Other warrants address pedestrian crossings,
or caution on the motorist’s part. Typical peak traffic periods and delays.
situations that may warrant the use of these During certain hours of the day or night, some
signs include: traffic signals are timed to change to flashing
N Curve ahead signals because of decreased traffic volume.
N Stop or signal ahead Flashers sometimes are used with four-way stop
N Pedestrian or railroad crossing signs as a motorist alert.
N Construction zone Most of us are frustrated at one time or another
when trying to enter a main road. But traffic signals
Guidance signs are not magic cures. An uncoordinated, whimsical
These signs are purely informational — road-name approach to traffic signal placement can create
signs, route-marker signs and signs that provide traffic-flow disruption, leading to a higher number
advance notice of the name of a side road. of accidents.