Seattle is getting all new street signs and the old signs are going on sale. "The average street sign is now 15 years old," Mayor Greg Nickels...

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Seattle is getting all new street signs and the old signs are going on sale.

“The average street sign is now 15 years old,” Mayor Greg Nickels said at a Wednesday news conference at Pike Place Market, where he showed off new signs for Pike Place and Pike Street.

“Unlike disco, we find older signs are not making a comeback,” he said.

Between now and 2012, the city will put up new signs at the city’s 17,000 intersections, using money raised by the “Bridging the Gap” levy that voters passed last year.

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The project will cost $2.5 million to $3.4 million.

The city’s transportation department has begun swapping out the signs and expects to get to 1,020 intersections by the end of this year.

The new signs are about a third larger and reflective, making them easier to read, but the design looks similar to the old signs, with white type on a green background.

Most of the old signs will be sold to the public for $5 to $10 at the city’s surplus warehouse, and the more iconic signs, such as Pike and Pine streets, will be auctioned on eBay. The city has not set a date for when the online auctions will begin. All proceeds will go to the transportation department.

“It’s absolutely berserk,” said James Shepard, who was working at the warehouse Wednesday. The staff received 500 phone calls, he said, and sold about 60 signs. One caller offered to buy them all — a deal Shepard declined.

Rohanda Pignolo hopes to get one. She lived in Seattle for 15 years before moving to Mesa, Ariz., and she is sentimental.

“There’s so much I miss about the Pike Place Market, the Space Needle and the cool jazz places and the great coffee, so I want the nostalgia of Seattle,” Pignolo said. “I realize I can’t get Pike Place Market, but I can probably afford Ocean View Drive, Taylor Street.”

Seward Park resident Muguette Guenneguez wants a Rainier Avenue or Alaska Street sign for her garden.

“My husband and I are art dealers and art lovers, and we look forward to seeing something that is being discarded by the city,” she said.

Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or

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