A little help staying on your side of the street


SECOND UPDATE: I’ve heard back from the city, and it turns out that we all got a piece of it right. Yes, the appearance of the Post-it notes does portend a sealcoating. But yes, they are intended to mark the lanes for the convenience of motorists. And no, they are not intended to be permanent. They’d never survive the snowplows.

But they do survive the sealcoating, says Mike Kennedy of the Minneapolis Public Works Department. After workers lay the crushed rock and roll it down, the Post-its pop back up. They serve as temporary striping until city crews can come back and paint new stripes.

Thanks to everybody who piped up. Happy motoring.

UPDATE: Still waiting to hear back from the city. But it looks like News Cut readers know more than I do. Why am I not surprised? So … the joke may be on me. Sounds like a major sealcoating is headed my way.

ORIGINAL POST: In other states with more moderate climates, I’ve seen these little reflective tabs stuck to the streets and highways, marking the line between lanes of traffic. They’re great. The tabs look like Post-it notes, but at night, when a car’s headlights approach, they glow like runway lights. They’ve made me think two things: 1) I wish we had these in Minnesota; 2) We’ll never have these in Minnesota.

Why not? Because a dozen or two times every year, we scrape our roads down to the nub with heavy plows. The Post-it note that can stand up to that kind of punishment hasn’t been made. Or so I thought.

But now, practically overnight, little glowing Post-it notes have sprung up on the streets of my neighborhood in south Minneapolis. I must have looked like a rube this morning, crouching down in the middle of the street to get a closer look.

I’ve put in a call to the city to get the details, and I’ll update this post after I hear back. Here’s what I want to ask: How much did the tabs cost? How long will they last? And: I notice that some of them are planted on top of pothole patches (see photo); doesn’t that mean the tabs will be gone by spring thaw?

  • CHS


    I wonder if the street is due to have a seal-coating done? (where they lay down a new layer of tar and crushed rock) I’ve seen those markers used temporarily during construction projects quite often.

  • BJ

    I have seen these for years around MN. Never thought much about them.

  • Bonnie

    I’ve been seeing them all over Roseville, but again, on the side streets that are due for crushed rock…

  • jon

    I’ve only ever seen these (inside or out side of Minnesota) where the roads are either scheduled to be repainted (for any number of reasons) or where the roads have just been repainted and the tabs haven’t been run over multiple times yet and broke loose.

    in southern California they have the bumps on the road (metal markers with reflectors built in that are bolted to the highway) that would either be destroyed by plows, or destroy a few plows before they were removed.

    though 35w has marker lights for the express lane into downtown… I believe those are embedded into the road so that plows will run right over the top of them with out doing any damage…

  • bsimon

    Like others, above, I have seen those here before. I think they’re intended to help the painting crew draw a straight stripe down the road.

  • enoon

    This things just spring up over night. I think all this rain is the culprit. My lawn is full of mushrooms as well.