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Size matters: Rollingwood replacing stop signs over fear of challenged traffic tickets

One central Texas city is getting ready to replace more than 90 percent of its stop signs because of a simple mistake. (CBS Austin)

One central Texas city is getting ready to replace more than 90 percent of its stop signs because of a simple mistake.

City leaders in Rollingwood who recently found out about it are concerned people may get out of traffic citations.

City Administrator Amber Lewis said it was recently brought to her attention that most of the stop signs in Rollingwood are too short.

To be up to city standards, the stop signs must be seven feet tall from the ground to the bottom of the sign, but they're not.

Most of them are a foot short, which is why the city is ready to replace 73 of the 79 within city limits.

“It seems pricey for stop signs, uh yeah, I’m pretty surprised by that,” said resident Kevin Imes.

Imes and his family live on a busy corner in Rollingwood and he notices a lot of things, but the height of the stop signs isn’t one of them.

“We have a lot of traffic cutting through from Lake Austin Blvd. straight over to Bee Cave, but no, not at all. I’m not sure replacing them is going to have that much of an impact with visibility,” Imes said.

Rollingwood city council voted Wednesday to replace 73 of the 79 stop signs at a cost of $25,500.

“I don't know how the mix-up happened. I think they've been like this as long as they've been there,” Lewis said.

The stop signs have been there for decades, but now that city leaders are aware of the height problem, it's raised concerns about how police can enforce traffic violations.

“We saw that as a major issue that could be problematic with regard to enforcement,” Lewis said.

CBS Austin talked to new Rollingwood Police Chief Max Westbrook who has been at the helm a couple of weeks.

He was unaware of the past problem, but assures that his officers are still writing tickets, because after all, a foot short or not, it's still a stop sign.

Lewis said the tickets can still be held up in court, they don't want to take any chances on if those tickets being challenged.

“It could be challenged because they're not at the right height so we wanted to make sure there's no chance for any stop sign violations to be challenged,” Lewis said.

The money is coming from a reserve fund. It's not an expense the city planned for, but Lewis said it needs to get done.

The new stop signs will also be breakaway stop signs that she said are a safety improvement for residents.

“It will break away and break off so instead of the stop sign possibly coming into your car and impale you, this will break away and doesn't pose that risk,” Lewis said.

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