Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Contributed by Flynn Bowie

Why in the world does South Carolina have so many signs along its roads? I’m not talking about billboards outside the frontage fence; I’m talking about anything mounted to a steel pole and stuck into the ground by the DOT along the roadside. When I’m on the road, I need to know only a few things (the speed limit and clearly marked exits and intersections come to mind). I don’t care if this stretch of road is being cleaned up by the Rotary Club or the 10th graders at Pelion High School – inmates should be doing that job anyway. I don’t care if this bridge was named for Jimmy Mack Joe-Bob Smith who died in Iraq – thank you for your service and sacrifice, sir, I’m sure you will be missed by your family and friends. What really irks me are the signs self-promoting the DOT beautification efforts in the medians. I’ve seen half a mile of beautiful yellow and red wildflowers ruined by a huge ugly sign saying “Hey, look what we did!” Enough already!

On Friday morning I read on The State paper’s website that the DOT is now hoping to “clean up” the roadsides by selling standardized signs as memorials to travelers killed on the interstates. What a simply brilliant idea. “We’re so sorry, family members, but Cindy Lou didn’t quite warrant a bridge or an intersection, but for $250 we will sell you a sign.” Just how long is that sign going to stay up? Every year South Carolina has a few hundred people die on its highways, so after a few years, we’re going to have a whole bunch of death signs lined up on our roads. What an inspiration! What a positive image of our state to the hundreds of thousands of out-of-state travelers passing through!

My mother and three others were killed in a wreck on I-26. We asked the DOT if we could plant four trees at the accident site and they told us no for safety reasons. My brother and I snuck out there one night and did it anyway, but the mowers took them down the next week and that was pretty much that. I can sympathize with family and friends who try to grieve and cope with a loved one’s death by placing a memorial, but the highway is really not the place for that. If the DOT is worried about distractions caused by a cross or a sign placed at an accident site, then they should just take them down. We don’t need any more signs.

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One Comment to “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign”

  1. Mr. Bowie, I refer you to a piece at http://mpmm-mixedupmind.blogspot.com/2009/04/random-thought-122-roadside-memorials.html for further input on this subject…..enjoy…..

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