Answer Man: All revved up and no place to go

July 6, 2018

Editor’s Note: This Classic Answer Man column was first published on Aug. 4, 2005.

Answer Man: What are the rules for the city putting up dead-end signs in residential cul-de-sacs? And is it true the city doesn’t use “Dead End” on signs anymore because it upsets people? Instead they use “No Outlet,” which can be confusing. — Dead End Bob

Glad to provide an outlet for this question!

Dead End Bob is basically right. Traffic engineer David Kramer says the city no longer uses the morbid terms on those signs “because some people don’t like the connotation.” The city now has two options — “Street Ends” and “No Outlet.” The latter is standard in residential areas.

Not every cul-de-sac gets a sign, though. “Generally, if the end of the street is visible and the street is less than 600 feet long, we don’t put up a sign,” Kramer said.

On cul-de-sacs where they’re used, “they save people time, and it also helps safety — when someone turns down a dead-end street, they often become frustrated and leave that street at a higher rate of speed, and residents don’t appreciate that.”

In case you were wondering, “cul-de-sac” isn’t a fancy French term for dead end. It means “bottom of the bag,” which in translation hardly seems more attractive than dead end.

Update hourly