Lakewood turns to online auctions to sell old street signs

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Feeling nostalgic? You can participate in an online auction to buy old Lakewood street signs.

This means that instead of considering any late night robbery, proud residents who dream of owning a road sign as a decorative item or keepsake can do so legally.

“Because of the reflectivity, the useful life of these signs can typically be 10 to 20 years before they fade or otherwise,” said City Engineer Mark K. Papke.

“So what the city is doing is keeping pace with our street sign inventory. This year, we replaced 54 traffic signs.

With a budget of $10,000, Lakewood typically replaces about 100 street name signs per year. After signs with reflectivity or other issues are identified by city inspectors driving through the community, the work is done by internal city staff.

Where previously the town sold old street signs for $25 each on a first-come, first-served basis at its annual community festival, this year, for the first time, Lakewood is auctioning the collectibles in line.

“We wanted to make it more open to the public, so we went through selling them on,” Papke said.

Bidding starts at $25 per sign, with auction closing at 9 a.m. Saturday (October 8).

In terms of bidding wars between neighbors, this is exactly what is happening on Northland Avenue and Rockaway Avenue, where the price of the respective street signs is $27 each.

As for the interest in traffic signs, Papke said they were popular.

“People who live on their street — like Northland Avenue or Detroit Avenue — like to have one,” Papke said. “They use them to decorate their homes, garages and bars.”

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