Traffic Signs and Signals

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The City’s Traffic Signs and Signals Department (the Department) is responsible for maintaining all traffic control devices necessary for the safe and orderly movement of traffic in and through the City. All traffic signals, traffic signs and pavement markings within the City limits are this department’s responsibility. Among the guidelines followed by the staff are the national standards as set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices which is published by the Federal Highway Administration.

Traffic Signals

The City operates traffic signals at 61 intersections. Each signal is programmed for operation in a set manner during selected periods of the day depending on the typical volume and distribution of traffic. Timing plans are varied by day of the week as well to account for variances on weekends and holidays. At more heavily traveled times of the day, groups of intersections are coordinated in optimized timing plans to minimize overall stops and delay. During less heavy periods, signals favor traffic in and out of neighborhoods and businesses.

Coordination of signals is accomplished with the use of a central computer that is linked to 58 of the City’s traffic signals. This computer allows staff to program the signals, change timing plans and monitor operation from the control center. The computer automatically notifies staff to the infrequent malfunctions so that technician cans be quickly dispatched to resolve the issue.

Many of the City’s signals are actuated by traffic. Sensors buried beneath the pavement or video sensors directed toward an approach tell the signal controller that a vehicle is waiting. In most cases the traffic sensors are used for left turning and side-street traffic, and are typically located just before the painted stop bar. The signals remain green along the main highway until a vehicle is detected by one of the sensors, at which point the signal controller schedules service to that waiting traffic in next cycle or at next opportunity, at which time the arterial is given a red signal and the detected vehicles on other approaches are given a green in a preset order.

The Department operates and maintains the signal system and remains on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every week of the year to correct any problems.

Traffic Signs

Traffic signs are meant to guide, warn and regulate traffic flow. The Department maintains existing signs, replacing them when faded or damaged, and they install new signs when approved by the appropriate authority. The Department also fabricates and installs the many signs used for City special events including Fall Festival and Independence Day activities.

Pavement Markings

Pavement markings are provided to guide and regulate traffic. Solid and dashed lines are provided to indicate the limits of the legal travel lanes. Arrows are provided as navigation devices to assist motorists with selection of the proper lane. Stop bars and crosswalks delineate intersections and indicate the proper zone for pedestrian traffic. The Department is responsible for repainting all the lines and other markings on a periodic basis and installing new ones when approved by the appropriate authority.

Approval Authority

City Council
  • Residential Permit Parking Districts
  • Snow Emergency Routes
  • Speed Limits
  • Through Truck Prohibitions
  • Traffic Signals
  • Weight Limit Restrictions
City Manager
  • All Day Parking Zones
  • Handicap Parking
  • Loading Zones
  • No Dumping
  • No Left (or Right) Turn
  • No Parking Zones
  • No Through Traffic
  • One or Two Hour Parking Zones
  • One-Way Street
  • Right (and Left) Turn On Red
  • Stop Signs, including All-Way
  • Taxi and Bus Stop Zones
  • 10, 20 or 30 Minute Parking Zones
  • Yield Signs
Director of Public Works
  • Directional Signs
  • Divided Highway Signs
  • Lane Narrowing Signs
  • Location of All Signs & Pavement Markings
  • Right Lane Ends Signs
  • Route Marker Signs
  • Signal Ahead Signs
  • Warning Signs


Signal Problems

To report a malfunctioning traffic signal call 703-385-7987 between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or 703-385-7924 at all other times.

For questions or suggestions about signal operation call 703-385-7987 or email.

Signs or Markings

To report a problem with a traffic sign or pavement marking call 703-385-7987 or email.

New Traffic Control Devices

To request a new traffic control device (traffic signal, sign or pavement marking) call the office of the Director of Public Works at 703-385-7810 or email.