A three-person team at a Streets Department workshop in Philadelphia is responsible for more than 100,000 of the city’s street-name signs, writes Michaelle Bond for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Sign fabricators Antoinette Simmons, Marquita Alleyne, and supervisor Shane Carmichael make nearly all of the street signs in the city by hand.
“It’s a daunting task, to say the least,” said Carmichael.
To create them, they tear letters, numbers, and other symbols from stenciled vinyl sheeting, peel the vinyl apart, and press them onto pre-cut, reflective metal sheets.
Street-name signs come in different shapes and sizes, from the more muted signs in Lower Merion Township to the lighted versions in Upper Merion Township.
A federal mandate from the George W. Bush administration to increase letter size and their ability to reflect light could have ended the company. But municipality officials balked at the cost.
Several years later, the Obama Administration intervened, giving municipalities the option to update their signs if they needed replacing.
The city currently has more than 900 street-name signs waiting to be replaced. The priority goes to faulty or missing traffic-control signs, such as stop signs.
“We go through those stop signs like candy,” said Carmichael.
Read more about street signs in the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.