Sunday, May 06, 2007

Signs, Sign, Everywhere A Sign!

On Friday I sent the Town Manager a note regarding visibility on some of the street intersections, especially the side streets. It’s probably not a big issue except where a condo developer puts up on right next to a stop sign, such as on my street. But in some instances signs have sprouted up on the intersections, not to mention the folly of planting palm trees and large shrubs so you can’t see the oncoming traffic. We might have made some progress on regulating signage for certain businesses, and have made some folks mad because of selective or over-enforcement, but there are all kinds of signs and I’m not a fan of any of them, except as required by TxDOT.

The visual clutter from signs detracts from our efforts to beautify the Island. Think of all the kinds of signs we have today, as they have been reproducing like rabbits:

  • Realtor signs
  • Election signs
  • Beach rule signs (three kinds of them!)
  • Dog poop signs (but no plastic bags?)
  • Ordinance signs
  • Security company signs
  • No parking signs on trash dumpsters
  • Landscape signs
  • Slow children signs (hah!)
  • Crappy old billboards

I could go on, but it appears that some folks want more signs, such as for “No Parking.” The most recent one to spawn in the “way-finding” sign so people can find the beach. I know that is a well intentioned and reasonable idea, but I just hate signs – and if you can’t find the beach with both hands, given the Island is only four blocks wide at most, I feel quite sorry for you.

Don’t get me wrong, the TxDOT allows for signs at indicate public establishments such as county parks, the Convention Center, boat ramps, and so forth. Those can be helpful but should be few in number as possible, such as when you come over the Causeway onto the Island. Those are true way-finding signs.

And I wouldn’t mind just a few signs out in Tompkins Channel to tell the boats to have NO WAKE, but that’s maybe it.

I admire folks like Ladybird Johnson of LBJ fame, who helped kick butt and clean up the signs and billboards and make junkyards and trash areas get covered by fences. In some Austin suburbs, thousands of real estate signs a month are collected because they are illegally planted in the right of way. The realtors know that code enforcement officers take off the weekends, so it is quite a cat-and-mouse game.

Sorry folks, I’m taking down my “Elect Somebody” signs in my front yard right now.

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