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Kalamazoo's traffic engineer encourages people to report damage to signs, signals and poles

At the intersection of Merrill Street and Howard Street, a utility pole hangs, entangled in the wires. Its stump is on the ground.
Kalloli Bhatt
A damaged utility pole at the intersection between Merrill Street and Howard Street, photographed in February 2024.

The city spends tens of thousands of dollars a year replacing damaged street signs and pedestrian signals.

You may have seen the occasional crumpled parking sign or broken utility pole in Kalamazoo.

Each year, 200 to 250 street signs are hit, vandalized or otherwise damaged in the City of Kalamazoo, according to City Engineer Dennis Randolph. The city replaces 5 to 10 pedestrian signals a year. Consumers Energy said it replaced 16 damaged power poles in the city in 2023.

Randolph asked people to report new damage by calling 3-1-1.

“If they let us know, we will get work orders out really quickly to repair or replace the sign,” he said.

Randolph said the other way the city finds out about the damage is if it’s reported by the police or city employees.

“Sometimes people hit, like, one of our pedestrian signals that are on the corner, and we only find out about it when we’re driving on the street,” he said.