One of my early posts after becoming New To Seattle last year concerned what struck me as the city’s extremely poor public signage. I considered the situation the worst I had seen since I lived three decades ago in Cairo, Egypt.
My essay was about street and traffic signs that didn’t help people get to where they wanted to go, like the unreadable street sign to the right in Ballard. But I now realize the problems with mass written communications in Seattle are a lot broader than that. Much of what I see does have the effect–undoubtedly unintended–of conveying a fair amount of humor, if only of the “What were they thinking?” variety. Witness my first and second posts about a billboard near the Fremont Bridge.
Here are some additional examples–with more pictures, of course.
At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, after going through security, walk down the A concourse and you come to this giant overhead sign at a double dogleg:
Here’s what you encounter when you go “just around the corner”:
Gates but no goodies as far as the eye can see–and that’s way more than a hundred yards.
Drive south on 15th Avenue NW in Ballard and pass this sign high up on a pole:
It apparently is some agency’s official belief that a blitzed-out driver will see this and immediately pull over. Right.
I’m not even sure the sign is accurate. To my thinking, calling something a “limit” means the maximum amount that is legal, like the daily limit for catching certain kinds of fish. But the Washington State Department of Licensing website makes pretty clear that a reading of .08% puts a driver over the line. I can just see a creative lawyer defending some motorist who blew an .0800% putting this picture into evidence and saying the law as posted was being carefully followed, the sign should have read .07999% or something and his client was being unfairly entrapped.
Finally, in a city where it rains far more days of the year than it doesn’t, walk through the door at the Albertsons supermarket on 32d Avenue W in Magnolia with its shiny vinyl floors and see this:
What? I simply had no idea.
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Yes you would… but we still know the purpose and intent of the sign!
I would tell you that legally that sign is meaningless.
Oh, c’mon Bill! You’re a lawyer, you know the purpose of the sign at Albertson’s! “Jeez, I was just minding my own business when I walked into Albertson’s and slipped on the wet floor! They should have told me the floor might be slippery because it was raining. I need $2 million dollars for my pain and suffering. (And another million for my lawyer.)”