Signs & Markings

The signs/markings personnel are responsible for the installation, repair, maintenance, and removal of the traffic control signs/markings throughout the City. The exception to this rule is at TxDOT controlled thoroughfares. This group manufactures its own traffic control signs, saving the City an estimated $30,000 each year. Projects currently in place include the upgrade to more reflective sign sheeting, larger street name signs, breakaway sign posts, and long term pavement marking materials.

Will more traffic signs help?
Traffic signs are an important part of the driver information system on streets and highways. Signs provide drivers with the information which makes the driving tasks easier and safer. This fact leads some people to believe that whenever more signs are put up, the streets are safer.

Traffic Engineers are frequently asked to place signs which confirm rules of the road or warn drivers of the obvious. This potential for the increase in unnecessary traffic signs has led to the establishment of nationwide standardized traffic signs and criteria for the installation of signs. Some of the most requested traffic signs are discussed below.

Traffic Signs
Speed Limit Signs: Alleys and Residential Streets
All drivers are expected to know the basic speed limits of 15 miles per hour in alleys and 30 miles per hour on residential. Drivers realize when they are entering these areas and should adjust their speed accordingly. Studies have shown that posting speed limit signs as "reminders" does not deter speeding drivers.

"Children at Play", "Deaf", "Blind" Pedestrian Signs
The Wichita Falls Traffic Engineering Division frequently receives requests from parents and neighborhood organizations for "CHILDREN AT PLAY" (CAP) signs to be installed in residential areas. These requests stem from parents' concern for the safety of their children in the street or near their homes. Unfortunately, these requests are based on a widespread false belief that all traffic signs provide protection. Concerned citizens fail to realize that these signs are deceiving and ineffective.

Wichita Falls has adopted the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD) as the standard for such devices. While Children at Play signs and their variations (Slow Children, Watch for Children and Caution Children) are not specifically forbidden in the MUTCD, neither the Federal MUTCD nor Texas MUTCD recognizes their use or list them as approved sign types. Rather, both suggest the use of the playground symbol warning sign to give advance warning of a designated children's playground that is located adjacent to the road only.

The TMUTCD indicates that the use of a warning sign should be kept to a minimum as the unnecessary use of warning signs tends to bread disrespect for all signs. The use of any warning sign should be restricted to warn motorist of unexpected or unusual conditions only. A child playing is a condition drivers should reasonably expect to encounter in any residential neighborhood. Since children live on nearly every residential block, there would have to be signs posted on each street. Blocks with no signs would imply that children would not be playing there, so caution is unnecessary. Beyond not being recognized by the Federal MUTCD, multiple studies across the nation have shown that CAP (children at play) signs when used have no effect at slowing traffic or changing driver habits in any way. Worst of all, the signs mislead parents and children to believe they have an added measure of protection which the signs simply cannot provide.

While the City of Wichita Falls does not recognize or endorse the use of CAP signs, any resident is allowed to erect and maintain them within their own property as long as they do not interfere with official traffic control devices and are not located within City or State Right of Way.

The City of Wichita Falls does however install deaf or blind pedestrian warning signs as they are specific to a condition that may not normally be encountered and are limited in area. These signs are erected by request and are maintained for a 5 year period then removed except for signs erected in school areas that have specific classes for handicapped students.

"No Parking" Signs
"No Parking" signs are placed most often for traffic safety or movement. They alert drivers to areas where parking a vehicle may be hazardous or impede traffic flow.

"No Parking" signs are not ordinarily installed at crosswalks, intersections, moving traffic lanes, or fire hydrants. All drivers should know that parking in these areas is prohibited.

When considering traffic sign placement, traffic engineers must determine which signs are necessary based upon roadway conditions. The placement of too many signs or signs which are unnecessary teaches drivers to ignore all traffic control devices. Traffic signs uniformly and consistently placed fulfill a vital role in traffic safety.

Garage Sale, Political and Advertising Signs
(6766 - Signs on public right-of-way)
No signs of any kind shall be erected or placed on the right-of-way of any street or alley in the city, nor any public place or city owned property, except for temporary signs, flags or banners authorized under 6767, traffic-control signs, signals and devices placed by the city under authority of the ordinances of the city, and advisory, safety and useful directional information signs placed by the city under authority of state law. Notwithstanding any other provision of this appendix, any sign so erected or placed on the right-of-way of any street or alley in the city in violation of this section shall be subject to immediate removal by the city manager's designee without notice to the owner or the lessee thereof. Any such sign removed pursuant to this section may be redeemed by the owner or lessee thereof by the payment of $25.00 for costs incurred in removing any such sign to a place of storage and an additional $1.00 per day for costs of storage. Any sign not redeemed within 60 days after removal shall be considered abandoned and may be destroyed. No signs of any kind shall be attached to any utility pole located in any street or alley right-of-way or utility easement except by the owner of such pole.

Secondary Signs
Definition: Any sign not pertaining to or providing driver information for the safe operation of motor vehicles. ie: Crime Stoppers, Neighborhood Watch.

Due to the critical nature of Stop, Yield and Warning signs, any signs that do not directly pertain to the management of traffic at an intersection or traffic hazard shall not be mounted on the same post. This is in conformity to the Texas MUTCD Section 2A-16.

In consideration to neighborhood aesthetics an effort should be made to install secondary signs on existing poles. In no case shall a secondary sign be placed on a pole that already contains two or more signs attached. Acceptable locations are as follows:
  • With Speed Limit Signs
  • With Parking Signs
  • With Street Name Signs
  • On Steel Streetlight Poles
Proper installation and maintenance is the responsibility of the party who purchased the sign. Any sign found by the Traffic Department that does not meet the above standards or has exceeded its’ useful life will be removed and impounded by the Traffic Department.
Secondary Sign Policy