Sunday, January 27, 2008

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign (continued)

On the way home from work on Friday, I decided to count the number of road signs on my usual route. The trip length is about 12.5 miles, including 10 miles on major 4-lane divided highways, 2 miles on residential or rural 2-lane roads, and a half mile on the driveway at my place of work.

On the first stretch, after leaving my employer's driveway, I counted only 6 signs -- 2 speed limit signs, 2 stop signs, and 2 "stop ahead" signs. Once I entered the 4-lane highways, it was a very different story. I counted 97 signs! This does not include standard street name signs, commercial or business signs, or double-counting the same signs when they appear on both the left and right sides of the roadway. I encountered everything from speed limit signs and "signal ahead" and "crossroad ahead" signs to silly signs like "littering is illegal" (does anyone not realize it's illegal?) and "keep Virginia green." I did not count signs not facing in my direction, such as the numerous red and white "wrong way" signs or the "one way" signs facing vehicles entering from side roads or business parking lots.

When I turned onto the residential/collector road leading to my subdivision, I encountered only 8 signs, including speed limit and bridge load limit signs, a "neighborhood watch" sign, and a curve/intersection warning sign. In my subdivision itself, there are no signs heading in the direction toward my house.

All I can conclude is we really ought to consider cutting the clutter and retaining only the most meaningful signs. Otherwise, one just tends to tune out ALL of the signs, especially if you've been traveling the same route for over 15 years like me.

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