Cleveland speed limit signs changed without city authorization by resident, posted on Facebook

Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 13:16:00-04

It's a picture of what appears to be a resident illegally swapping Cleveland speed limit signs on Franklin Boulevard, and it's stirred up a social media storm on Facebook.

According to Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone, the unidentified man is pictured on a ladder, posing as a city worker, wearing a hard hat and a reflective vest.

Zone said the man took down nearly two dozen 35 mph signs along a 2 mile stretch of Franklin Boulevard and replaced them with 25 mph signs, likely purchased with his own money.

Zone told News 5 he's been trying to get the speed limit on the heavily traveled road reduced for years but said he was stunned that a resident would resort to such a bold tactic.

"I was shocked to find out on Saturday that somebody came out here on their own, it wasn't approved by the city," said Zone. "But it just gets to the point of how frustrated community people are. They want the traffic to slow down. People need to heed the speed."

Zone said there are plenty of people on both sides of the Franklin Boulevard speed zone issue.

The Cleveland Street Department responded by taking down all of the unauthorized speed signs on Mar. 22, but now that stretch of the boulevard is left with no speed signs at all.

Some parents, like Samantha Kane, are concerned about safety.

"With no signs, that's even scarier," said Kane. "Kids walk to and from school here by themselves without parents."

Zone said with no speeds signs posted, it could be a safety concern.

"I think the city was shocked as well," said Zone. "When I spoke with our traffic control department, there is some legal liability concerns, because the street is permitted at 35 mph.  I know that is something our law department is looking into."

Zone said it's still not clear who swapped the signs or if that person could face any criminal charges.

News 5 contacted the Cleveland mayor's office about this case, but we're still waiting for a response.

It's likely to cost taxpayers $2,000 to replace the stolen signs. 

No word yet on when the 35 mph signs will be restored or if a driver was incorrectly ticketed due to the unauthorized speed change.