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2009 Edition Chapter 2K. Tourist-Oriented Directional Signs

Section 2K.01 Purpose and Application

01 Tourist-oriented directional signs are guide signs with one or more sign panels that display the business identification of and directional information for eligible business, service, and activity facilities.

02 A facility shall be eligible for tourist-oriented directional signs only if it derives its major portion of income or visitors during the normal business season from road users not residing in the area of the facility.

03 Tourist-oriented directional signs may include businesses involved with seasonal agricultural products.

04 When used, tourist-oriented directional signs shall be used only on rural conventional roads and shall not be used on conventional roads in urban areas or at interchanges on freeways or expressways.

05 Where both tourist-oriented directional signs and Specific Service signs (see Chapter 2J) would be needed at the same intersection, the tourist-oriented directional signs shall incorporate the needed information from, and be used in place of, the Specific Service signs.

06 Tourist-oriented directional signs may be used in conjunction with General Service signs (see Section 2I.02).

07 Section 2K.07 contains information on the adoption of a State policy for States that elect to use tourist-oriented directional signs.

Section 2K.02 Design

01 Tourist-oriented directional signs shall have one or more sign panels for the purpose of displaying the business identification of and directional information for eligible facilities. Each sign panel shall be rectangular in shape and shall have a white legend and border on a blue background.

02 The content of the legend on each sign panel shall be limited to the identification and directional information for no more than one eligible business, service, or activity facility. The legends shall not include promotional advertising.

03 Each sign panel should have a maximum of two lines of legend including no more than one symbol, a separate directional arrow, and the distance to the facility displayed beneath the arrow. Arrows pointing to the left or up should be at the extreme left of the sign panel. Arrows pointing to the right should be at the extreme right of the sign panel. Symbols, when used, should be to the left of the word legend or logo sign panel (see Paragraph 7).

04 The General Service sign symbols (see Section 2I.02) and the symbols for recreational and cultural interest area signs (see Chapter 2M) may be used.

05 Logo sign panels (see Section 2J.03) for specific businesses, services, and activities may also be used. Based on engineering judgment, the hours of operation may be displayed on the sign panels.

06 When used, symbols and logo sign panels shall be an appropriate size (see Section 2K.04). Logos resembling official traffic control devices shall not be permitted.

07 The tourist-oriented directional sign may display the word message TOURIST ACTIVITIES at the top of the sign.

08 The TOURIST ACTIVITIES word message shall have a white legend in all upper-case letters and a white border on a blue background. If used, it shall be placed above and in addition to the directional sign panels.

09 Examples of tourist-oriented directional signs are shown in Figures 2K-1 and 2K-2.

Figure 2K-1 Examples of Tourist-Oriented Directional Signs

Thumbnail image of Figure 2K-1

Figure 2K-2 Examples of Intersection Approach Signs and Advance Signs for Tourist-Oriented Directional Signs

Thumbnail image of Figure 2K-2

Section 2K.03 Style and Size of Lettering

01 All letters and numbers on tourist-oriented directional signs, except on the logo sign panels, should be upper-case and at least 6 inches in height. Any legend on a logo should be proportional to the size of the logo.

02 Design standards for letters, numerals, and spacing shall be as provided in the "Standard Highway Signs and Markings" book (see Section 1A.11).

Section 2K.04 Arrangement and Size of Signs

01 The size of a tourist-oriented directional sign shall be limited to a maximum height of 6 feet. Additional height shall be allowed to accommodate the addition of the optional TOURIST ACTIVITIES message provided in Section 2K.02 and the action messages provided in Section 2K.05.

02 The number of intersection approach signs (one sign for tourist-oriented destinations to the left, one for destinations to the right, and one for destinations straight ahead) installed in advance of an intersection should not exceed three. The number of sign panels installed on each sign should not exceed four. The sign panels for right-turn, left-turn, and straight-through destinations should be on separate signs. The left-turn destination sign should be located farthest from the intersection, then the right-turn destination sign, with the straight-through destination sign located closest to the intersection (see Figure 2K-2). Signs for facilities in the straight-through direction should be considered only when there are signs for destinations in either the left or right direction.

03 If it has been determined to be appropriate to combine the left-turn and right-turn destination sign panels on a single sign, the left-turn destination sign panels should be above the right-turn destination sign panels (see Figure 2K-1). When there are multiple destinations in the same direction, they should be in order based on their distance from the intersection. Except as provided in Paragraph 5, a straight-through sign panel should not be combined with a sign displaying left- and/or right-turn destinations.

04 The sign panels should not exceed the size necessary to accommodate two lines of legend without crowding. Symbols and logo sign panels on a directional sign panel should not exceed the height of two lines of a word legend. All directional sign panels and other parts of the sign should be the same width, which should not exceed 6 feet.

05 At intersection approaches where three or fewer facilities are displayed, the left-turn, right-turn, and straight-through destination sign panels may be combined on the same sign.

Section 2K.05 Advance Signs

01 Advance signs should be limited to those situations where sight distance, intersection vehicle maneuvers, or other vehicle operating characteristics require advance notification of the destinations and their directions.

02 The design of the advance sign should be identical to the design of the intersection approach sign. However, the directional arrows and distances to the destinations should be omitted and the action messages NEXT RIGHT, NEXT LEFT, or AHEAD should be placed on the sign above the business identification sign panels. The action messages should have the same letter height as the other word messages on the directional sign panels (see Figures 2K-1 and 2K-2).

03 The action message sign panels shall have a white legend in all upper-case letters and a white border on a blue background.

04 The legend RIGHT 1/2 MILE or LEFT 1/2 MILE may be used on advance signs when there are intervening minor roads.

05 The height required to add the directional word messages recommended for the advance sign may be added to the maximum sign height of 6 feet.

06 The optional TOURIST ACTIVITIES message, when used on an advance sign, and the action message should be combined on a single sign panel with TOURIST ACTIVITIES as the top line and the action message as the bottom line (see Figure 2K-2).

Section 2K.06 Sign Locations

01 If used, the intersection approach signs should be located at least 200 feet in advance of the intersection. Signs should be spaced at least 200 feet apart and at least 200 feet from other traffic control devices.

02 If used, advance signs should be located approximately 1/2 mile from the intersection with 500 feet between these signs. In the direction of travel, the order of advance sign placement should be to show the destinations to the left first, then destinations to the right, and last, the destinations straight ahead.

03 Position, height, and lateral offset of signs should be governed by Chapter 2A except as permitted in this Section.

04 Tourist-oriented directional signs may be placed farther from the edge of the road than other traffic control signs.

05 The location of other traffic control devices shall take precedence over the location of tourist-oriented directional signs.

Section 2K.07 State Policy

01 To be eligible for tourist-oriented directional signing, facilities shall comply with applicable State and Federal laws concerning the provisions of public accommodations without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, or national origin, and with laws concerning the licensing and approval of service facilities. Each State that elects to use tourist-oriented directional signs shall adopt a policy that complies with these provisions.

02 The State policy should include:

  1. A definition of tourist-oriented business, service, and activity facilities.
  2. Eligibility criteria for signs for facilities.
  3. Provision for incorporating Specific Service signs into the tourist-oriented directional signs as required by Paragraph 5 of Section 2K.01.
  4. Provision for covering signs during off seasons for facilities operated on a seasonal basis.
  5. Provisions for signs to facilities that are not located on the crossroad when such facilities are eligible for signs.
  6. A definition of the immediate area in compliance with the provisions of Paragraph 2 of Section 2K.01.
  7. Maximum distances to eligible facilities. The maximum distance should be 5 miles.
  8. Provision for information centers (plazas) when the number of eligible sign applicants exceeds the maximum permissible number of sign panel installations.
  9. Provision for limiting the number of signs when there are more applicants than the maximum number of signs permitted.
  10. Criteria for use at intersections on expressways.
  11. Provisions for controlling or excluding those businesses which have illegal signs as defined by the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 (23 U.S.C. 131).
  12. Provisions for States to charge fees to cover the cost of signs through a permit system.
  13. A definition of the conditions under which the time of operation is displayed.
  14. Provisions for determining if advance signs will be permitted, and the circumstances under which they will be installed.

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