I saw the sign

So, the federal government, in its infinite wisdom, decides that the city of Milwaukee is not up to date on its street signs.  The feds decided that a grand majority of the street signs in the city of Milwaukee are in need of being replaced.  Is it because they have fallen into disrepair, their letters not reflecting light well enough?  Nope.  It’s because their words are in all capital letters, which apparently is a no-no.  Milwaukee must replace all of its street signs in the next four years, increasing the reflectivity of the letters and making sure they’re a combination of upper case and lower case.

So what the hell does this have to do with us?  Well, take a look below and you’ll see what I’m getting at:

Yup.  I’m proposing that the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee step in and offer to cover some of the cost by getting special black and gold street signs in the UWM neighborhood.  Specifically, I’d make the borders Lake Drive, Capitol, the Milwaukee River and Brady Street.  Why go that far?  Because the area inside that space is taken up largely by UWM students, alumni, faculty and staff.

So why do it?  Other than looking cool, the street signs help the university lay claim to the neighborhood.  It would be nice for people to get on campus and see that they are in Panther territory, home of UWM.

This has other benefits as well.  Green and white signs are the most used because of their contrast, but the truth is that the two colors with the biggest contrast are black and yellow.  That fact, along with a higher reflectivity of the letters, give the Panther street sign movement some momentum.

For a university that struggles with an identity, this would go a long way towards helping that.

But by no means am I saying this should be exclusive to UWM.  Marquette University has a section of the city that is absolutely known as its campus.  Why not allow them to have navy blue street signs with yellow lettering?  For the city, it creates community while also dropping the cost of replacing all the signs.  Besides Marquette and UWM, we could also find red and white street signs around MSOE.

It’s not as if this hasn’t already started somewhat.  The city of Wauwatosa has blue signs with white lettering in city limits.  The county isn’t married to green and white signs, just like it definitely isn’t married to all caps letters on those signs.


  1. Joe

    October 13, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    The JS gave out misinformation when they ran that article. The city has been in the process of changing over the old signs for a few years now. I’ve noticed the mix between caps and not for awhile now. That being said…..

    THIS IS A SPECTACULAR IDEA!!! It’s excellent geographic marketing. Not to mention the REVENUE that could be generated for the U in selling “personalized” signs or “the street you lived on when you were a junior” signs to Alums.

  2. Jimmy Lemke

    October 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I owe a big thanks to Ricky Babcock, now at Michigan for putting the idea in my head.

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