KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s tough to navigate downtown Kansas City, Missouri without running across a “Roo.”
On Tuesday, University of Missouri-Kansas City’s ad campaign, meant to show there are UMKC graduates are everywhere, went into full swing. The yellow diamond signs with kangaroo’s on them, which resemble city traffic markers, are placed on posts near city streets.
“We have 200 signs that are randomly placed about town,” Anne Hartung-Spenner said, UMKC vice chancellor for marketing. “They are in places that are completely legal. They’re not just placed without thought.”
Hartung-Spenner said UMKC wanted the signs to resemble the ones seen in Australia. Where kangaroos crossing are a real thing.
“It’s all designed to make you look twice and think, ‘that’s a traffic sign? Oh, there’s a Roo on it. It must be something else.”‘
But that, according to city public works officials, is the problem.
“They look like some of them are on public right of way,” Maggie Green said, a spokesperson Kansas City’s Department of Public Works.
Green said the shape, color and placement of those signs may make them in violation of city ordinance.
“Our concern is safely and traffic flow right now,” Green said. “If there’s anything that’s confusing to drivers and the fact that they’re yellow, which is the color of a lot of other standard signs, that could potentially pose a confusion to drivers. We want to ensure driver safety.”
UMKC officials sent a late afternoon email to FOX4 saying the school has stressed to its contractors they need to obey all laws and ordinance and that they’ll work with the city to make things right.
The city also said the Roo signs are fine to be posted around the UMKC campus.
A spokesperson for MoDOT told FOX4 the signs wouldn’t be permitted on highways either.
Green said signs that are taken down are typically kept by the city for 10 days before they’re trashed. Green didn’t know if any Roo crossing signs had been removed.