Stop signs must stop
November 5, 2016 § 16 Comments
After hearing Garrett Unno’s impassioned plea to remove 3-Feet-It’s-The-Law signage from Palos Verdes Estates, I was emailed this guest blog by long-time friend Don W.
The piece itself is authored by Jarrett Ohno, and it makes a lot of sense. Jarrett is a scientific researcher on climate change and works for the Donald J. Trump campaign in what is about to be a whole lot of spare time:
If you would like the “STOP” signs removed, please attend and let the committee know during public comments. No one would argue that these signs are the most important thing going on in our city (check out http://www.noflatlandersinpve.org/!) but they were a bad decision that is worth fixing. Some of my thoughts:
1) “STOP” signs were a piecemeal solution. The PVE City Council voted against installation of the “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” sign because they felt it was a piecemeal solution. “STOP” signs fall into the same category.
2) The “STOP” sign is too consistent with our neighboring cities. We are an important city built upon a hill. We should not seek to emulate our neighboring flatland communities by copying their signage. The city is moving towards a master roadway plan to make up its own signage that will be unique and specific to our wonderful city, and maintain our high property values. This sign was a step in the opposite direction and should be removed until other effective signage can be determined.
3) Unusual and ineffective design. The “STOP” sign is unusual in its design and wording. First, it’s an octagon. This is unique amongst street signs in that it is a complicated eight-sided shape that could confuse hill-dwelling residents. Second, the word STOP, in all capital letters, seems to be yelling a command at the users of our narrow roads. Again, this could be confusing, or even frightening to drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and even horses as to why they are being yelled at and being given a command to do something. The “STOP” sign was first used in Detroit, Michigan in 1915.
Detroit! Do we want people from Detroit deciding what type of signs we use in PVE? I can just imagine how this is affecting our property values. Between 1915 and 1935, “STOP” signs were changed several times because of uncertainty and confusion of drivers. Do we want to perpetuate the uncertainty and confusion of drivers in PVE? The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) “STOP” sign has been altered eight times between 1935 and 1971. It seems to me that when you change something eight times, you aren’t very uniform. Maybe they should change it to the Manual of Uncertain Traffic Control Devices? PVE should remove all “STOP” signs until the MUTCD can make up its mind and come up with a standard, less shape-challenged sign that is less demanding of drivers, cyclists, horses, and pedestrians.
4) “STOP” signs invented during period of anarchy. The “STOP” sign was conceived during a revolutionary time, in the early automobile age. According to a quote that I found while hastily confirming my knowledge on this subject, a person named William Phelps Eno wrote in a 1900 article “Reforming Our Street Traffic Urgently Needed,” for Rider and Driver magazine. He proposed placing “STOP” signs at intersections. The article continues to say that “It was a civilizing notion. That was a new concept and really did introduce the idea that you had to watch out for other people.” Watching out for other people? That’s socialism. We don’t need socialism in PVE. That would affect our quality of life.
5) Size and height blocking view of surrounding beauty. The “STOP” sign size and height, although uniform as described in the MUTCD (for now, amiright?), blocks the view of the surrounding beauty as drivers, cyclist, runners, and horses approach, decreasing the quality of life of residents whose field of vision is blighted by these signs. Many PVE residents are able to see “STOP” signs when looking out of the windows of their homes. People in their homes are stationary. They don’t need to be yelled at by a “STOP” sign to stop. Maybe the placement of “STOP” signs should be considered so that no PVE resident is able to see one if they happen to look out any of the windows in their homes.
6) “STOP” signs imposing to some residents. The “STOP” sign could be seen as imposing or threatening to some residents. When I was younger, I adopted a dog from the pound that must have had some trauma prior to being adopted by me. Whenever I would walk her past a fire hydrant, her hackles would rise up as we passed by and she wouldn’t turn her back on the hydrant as a precaution from being attacked. Some residents could have a similar visceral reaction to “STOP” signs, similar to what other residents have reported from being surprised by the “3 FEET IT’S THE LAW” signs. What is that, a child on a pogo stick? A construction worker with a jackhammer? A clown? I can’t even.
7) No one takes action based on command from “STOP” signs. The “STOP” sign is issuing a command, in too stern a fashion, and drivers, cyclists, runners, pedestrians, and horses aren’t paying attention. No one stops because there is a “STOP” sign. This has been proven by the PVE City Police, during a routine “random” observation of drivers and cyclists at a few different intersections that coincidentally took place during a time when a known quantity of cyclists would be social cycling through the city. Coincidentally, the majority of PVE residents who drive cars were still snuggled in their beds with their blinds closed so that they could not see “STOP” signs. This proves that “STOP” signs are ineffective and should be removed immediately.