DH and I took a road trip out East recently. On the way home, we got into a discussion about how much money our government seems to waste on signs. I mean, I know that some, maybe most, signage is necessary. But when you think about the labor and materials that must be involved in the production of these things, I think I’ve hit on a way to cut government spending. Here are some of the ones whose necessity hangs in the balance for me:
#1. Falling Rock—this one seems like the little boy who cried wolf. a) I have never seen a rock fall in one of these areas, and b) if a rock did fall as I was driving by, I’m not sure being warned it COULD happen would do me any good. If a rock falls, I will try to avoid it. But if a rock falls in an area without such a sign, I will also try to avoid it. No sign—same result.
#2. Walk time shortened when train approaches—isn’t this a matter of common sense? A very active train track cuts through the middle of our small town and runs just a few yards north of the busiest intersection on Main Street. There are FOUR of these signs at that intersection—one on each corner. Now, for years, pedestrians crossed the street there, and I don’t remember a single one walking headlong into a train. If a train approached, they either speeded up or slowed down, got across the tracks before the gates came down, or waited it out. No one had to tell them their walk time would be shortened because of the train. That was something they knew innately. So who came up with this sign, and why did he feel it was necessary?
#3. Speed monitored by aircraft—again, is this something that warrants a warning? I don’t remember ever seeing a sign that says State trooper shooting radar at mile marker 103, so why do I need to be warned they’re monitoring my speed from the sky? Is this a Big Brother ploy to make me suspicious of every airplane I see while I’m traveling? If there are no planes around, can I go as fast as I want, secure in the knowledge that no one on the ground will be checking my speed? And where are the warning signs telling me I’m no longer in that air-monitored area?
#4. No Pedestrians
This one is found on the entrance ramps to interstate highways. I have no problem with the first two parts of this one. It’s the No Animals that causes me to pause. Does this mean I can’t legally have my pet in the car? Are cattle and horses, etc. not allowed to be transported on interstates? Or is this one directed toward wild animals—the deer, raccoons, armadillos, skunks, groundhogs, opossums—that find their eternal sleep along our interstates? If only they’d read the sign! Couldn’t we at least save the ink that’s needed to print that line … make the sign shorter, thus cutting down on the amount of metal used?
So what do you think? Care to join my cause? What signs do you think are superfluous and why?