Slow Down: Changes Coming to Solar-Powered Street Signs

If you drive around Sioux Falls, you may have seen one of the city’s 13 driver feedback signs. They light up to tell you just how fast you’re driving.

City Council member Theresa Stehly proposed these flashing driver feedback signs last year. They’re solar-powered and easy to transport. The hope is that people will see how fast they’re going and drive safely.

“I am a driver’s ed instructor so I am passionate about driving safety and I think in our community in Sioux Falls we n

eed to put more effort into promoting courteous, defensive driving,” said Stehly.

Heath Hoftiezer from the city tells KDLT that one intersection used to average 1.2 crashes per year, but ever since they put a driver feedback sign up, there hasn’t been a single crash.

“Well I haven’t heard anything about traffic violations being reduced or accidents averted but I do know that I’ve heard feedback from citizens who appreciate it because helping them to do a reality check for how fast they’re actually going,” said Stehly.

Speed limit signs are typically displayed 50 to 100 feet in advance, but the city has new plans to help drivers compare their speed to the speed limit.

“He told me today that they’re going to start incorporating the speed itself, the speed sign on the poles,” said Stehly.

The city plans to move the two signs to the same pole right away, but locals have differing opinions about if these signs themselves make the community safer.

”The sign hasn’t made any difference in the way people drive,” said Evan Evans of Sioux Falls.

While the reviews are mixed Evans has lived in this Marion Road neighborhood for 30 years and says a flashing sign just isn’t enough.

”It’s a major highway and you can watch the sign and people are going by here anywhere up to 60 miles per hour and it’s just crazy,” said Evans. “We can’t even let our grandkids play out here.”>

The signs cost about $4,000 a piece, paid for by tax dollars using the general fund from engineering. The city of Sioux Falls is budgeted to buy six more driver feedback signs in 2018.

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