Help me write my sign
March 15, 2013 10:07 AM   Subscribe

There's a stop sign in front of my house, and people don't stop at it. Our neighborhood is working on various ways of solving this problem, and my contribution is to create signs to hang up on my wall right next to the stop sign. Last year in a fit of pique Mr. BlahLaLa made one that said SLOW DOWN, FU**ER! That actually had a big, positive impact, believe it or not, but when the novelty wore off, so did compliance. So, help me create a stack of posters I can use in rotation?

God, I hate the people who don't stop in front of my house. It's a terrible hazard, and it leads to all sorts of angry confrontations on a daily basis -- car to car, car to pedestrian, etc. Plus this is an area of curving, hilly, narrow streets. It's insane. (At most, I can chalk it up to the idea that when drivers approach down the hill they experience illusion that from their vantage point they can see the entire intersection, and that because they're better than everyone else they can just speed like a maniac and blow through it with no consequence.)

So I need to create some new signs. I want funny. I want vulgar. I want creative. I want puns, even though I hate puns. They have to be short and direct. So hit me -- before a non-stopping car does!
posted by BlahLaLa to Grab Bag (49 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've never found a passive-agressive tact to be effective in the long run. Additionally, this is a law enforcement problem. Have you spoken with the police department?
posted by humboldt32 at 10:12 AM on March 15, 2013 [14 favorites]

Best answer: GO FUCK YOURSELF!
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM on March 15, 2013

Best answer: NAKED PEOPLE.
Please slow down.
posted by musofire at 10:14 AM on March 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

posted by FishBike at 10:15 AM on March 15, 2013 [10 favorites]

Best answer: STOP SIGN --------->

(or there will be if you don't stop!)

Also, call your local police force, and ask them to camp in your driveway a few days a week giving tickets.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:16 AM on March 15, 2013

Response by poster: Just to add -- we have dealt with law enforcement, we are dealing with law enforcement, we will be dealing with law enforcement into the next century. They will do the "hang out in the driveway and give tickets thing," but only once every few years. There already is a "stop sign ahead" further up the road that people can see, and the stop sign itself is clearly visible. We have dealt with the neighborhood council, the city council reps, etc. But we live in an enormous city (Los Angeles) that has approximately one bajillion gazillion problems, and this is very low down on everybody's list.

As for the "hmmm, people don't usually just blow through stop signs, why are they doing it here," it's because of what I mentioned in my initial post: they're coming down a steep hill and from their vantage they think they can see the entire intersection and when it all seems clear they figure they don't need to stop. There are hidden driveways, there are kids, animals, etc, and a million other reasons why they should.

In short, I just want sign ideas. Thanks!
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:16 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: OFF the gas
ON the brake
SLOW it down
for F*CK'S sake
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:18 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


(and then see about getting speed bumps installed)

posted by ish__ at 10:18 AM on March 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

posted by SpaceWarp13 at 10:19 AM on March 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: SPEED BUMP
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:20 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A sign with a lot of text that is small for a sign but with the words FINE, ENFORCED, LICENSE, REVOKED, etc. in bold and slightly larger font.
posted by griphus at 10:20 AM on March 15, 2013

In Japan, many rural communities paint up an old car to look like a cop car, put in a dummy, and park it behind some bushes. This helps slow traffic down.

Japan also has these cool signs with reflective strips that look like a cop in a safety vest with a flashlight. This can also work.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:20 AM on March 15, 2013 [9 favorites]

Best answer: This classic?

posted by kmennie at 10:25 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

A very large mirror, angled so as the driver approaches the stop sign, he/she sees movement of a large object out of the corner of his/her eye.
posted by neutralmojo at 10:25 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Spend a few afternoons on your property, making video recordings of people blowing the stop sign.

Once you get a decent number of violations, put them together into a compilation/montage and post it to YouTube. Then point a local newspaper to the video, explaining that the cops aren't doing enough to help.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:25 AM on March 15, 2013 [12 favorites]

Best answer: STOP

(next week)

(week after that)
posted by jamaro at 10:25 AM on March 15, 2013 [13 favorites]

posted by lemniskate at 10:28 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ever consider getting a fake deer to put out near the edge of your property, right by the road? As they approach, add in a deer crossing sign.

Don't have the deer up all the time, alternate days and exact location.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:29 AM on March 15, 2013

Maybe one of those little white crosses that traditionally show where someone died?
posted by musofire at 10:29 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: SLOW DOWN












LOVE thy neighbor
STOP thy car




*or jamaro
*there must be a better way to word this...
posted by bunderful at 10:29 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

They sell small plastic signs that look like a green cartoon child, often with a flag. We've found this helps people slow down when they see it.

It sounds like a few things getting swapped out every month or two might work. Keep people aware, but not let them get complacent.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:37 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think my dad once put up a giant sign that stated he'd moon anybody who went over 15MPH in our neighborhood... He followed through at least once.

Could you set up a cheap video camera with a sign that states "WE REPORT LICENSE PLATES OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T STOP TO THE POLICE"?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:41 AM on March 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

Can you do a guerrilla speed bump installation, there, at the stop line?
posted by rmd1023 at 10:48 AM on March 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: (which isn't a sign, sorry)

For an actual sign, something like "VIDEO SURVEILLANCE IN USE" and something that looks like a traffic camera?
posted by rmd1023 at 10:49 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Maybe a cardboard box at the base of the stop sign that says "FREE STUFF!!" People will slow and stop to peer into the box (do put some stuff in there, just junk, and replace it when it gets taken. Have some amount of turnover so people will check it out each time. heck, people might start adding their own stuff to give away...)

Alternate: "FREE KITTENS" and put any roadkill in the area into it.
posted by The otter lady at 10:49 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We have a stop sign in the neighborhood that people blow through, and then the city came and put up a sign that says "DIP." I cannot locate the dip they're talking about, but it makes people slow WAY DOWN so they don't scrape the bottom of their car, and they get even slower when they can't visually locate the dip that does not appear to exist.

Anyway, big sign that says "WARNING: UNFILLED POTHOLE" will slow people down.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:51 AM on March 15, 2013 [10 favorites]

This is the reason we don't ask the city to fix the outrageous potholes on our street. Putting in your own speed bumps opens you up for big liability, unfortunately.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:52 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Add a blown up a photo of a cop in uniform to life size to your sign rotation. Stand him next to where you hang your signs.

Even a large photo of an eye ("you're being watched") can help.
posted by faineant at 10:53 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by griphus at 10:54 AM on March 15, 2013

I can't help but think there's a liability problem waiting to bite you if you illegally put up a sign and a driver crashes into a tree, pedestrian or your wall while they're distracted trying to read it.
posted by sageleaf at 10:55 AM on March 15, 2013

This is stolen from North Vancouver, but what if you put up whale or elephant crossing signs (with a picture of the animal). That might confuse people enough to slow them down!
posted by carolr at 10:58 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

KokuRyu beat me to it. I read a story of a person who did exactly what they are describing - they got an old car and did it up to look like a police car and put it in sight of the drivers. Move it around to different locations from time to time. Apparently it helped tremendously.

Aside from that, can you see about geting a deaf child sign put up? They did that in a neighbourhood where I grew up because people would bomb through. There was no deaf child, but the sign seemed to help.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:42 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Have kids make/draw signs encouraging people to stop.
posted by flug at 11:50 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've always thought this was kind of cool.
posted by 4ster at 12:21 PM on March 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

I recently saw one that I found so obnoxious I stopped, took a pic, and tweeted it. Maybe you don't want everyone to do that, exactly, but the people in this neighborhood must have reason to think it works.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:34 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In Ireland they have huge signs painted on the road that say "SLOW DOWN", then about 50 yds further on "SLOWER", and lastly, "SLOWEST".
posted by dbmcd at 2:25 PM on March 15, 2013

...and by "in the road"...I mean painted on the road surface. Maybe chalk would work, and not be (as) illegal?
posted by dbmcd at 2:26 PM on March 15, 2013

Most of the people bombing through a residential neighborhood are repeat visitors who live nearby; however clever your fake sign it will only work once on each driver. Even if it changed daily, it would just become that meaningless sign that changes daily. Maybe, since you have a blank wall next to the intersection, you could set up a projector in a shed in your yard and project TV on it, people will stop whatever they're doing when they see a TV... of course one will eventually drive into the side of your house.
posted by nicwolff at 2:29 PM on March 15, 2013

Best answer: Most of the people bombing through a residential neighborhood are repeat visitors who live nearby;

Maaaaaybe. There are lots of places where people go bombing through residential neighborhoods, especially when traffic on the major arterials backs up. LA is kind of notorious for people taking side streets when traffic is bad.

The thing is, if it's repeat offenders, it's fairly easily solved by photographing license plates and tracking down the people who do it over and over.

If it's a steady stream of random cut-through traffic, it's harder to fix through education. The rotating signs kind of solves both problems, and it doesn't require interacting with the city.




posted by ambrosia at 3:06 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Where I live, there's the occasional "SLOW DOWN WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN" traffic sign, but I'm not sure whether they have any effect.
posted by matlock expressway at 3:34 PM on March 15, 2013

Best answer: Put up a surveillance camera.


Then, report violators.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 3:48 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

is there a crosswalk there too?
maybe a sign in the middle of the crosswalk will help...
or at the base of the stop sign pole.
I found this site selling the kit of an easel and stop sign decal for $200.
posted by calgirl at 4:02 PM on March 15, 2013

I recently saw one that I found so obnoxious I stopped, took a pic, and tweeted it

Yea just warning you that ... some people I know would tend more towards annoyed then "Look! A cute sign. So I should REALLY stop."

As a cautionary tale, you might enjoy Season 2 Ep 11 of Modern Family, "Slow Down Your Neighbors."

But if you must, and you don't care about being ethical, I am always persauded to slow down by "Blind Pedestrians" signs.
posted by murfed13 at 4:13 PM on March 15, 2013

Best answer: SLOW YOUR ROLL
posted by floweredfish at 4:34 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some brainstorms... Can you make the street narrower approaching the intersection? Perhaps with cones or lawn chairs or something? A basketball hoop? Make it feel like more of a backstreet and less of a through-way, if you can. What about a "stop ahead" sign 100 feet behind the stop sign.

a herd of goats?
posted by spbmp at 6:14 PM on March 15, 2013

Best answer: Someone in our neighbourhood has been graffitiing stop signs so that they read one of the following:

STOP (war)

STOP (pirating)

STOP (hating)


I'm not suggesting you add these to the signs, but if you put up your own sign that says STOP a little way before the other one, and use velcro or something to attach a smaller word below, you'd only need to swap out that smaller word every week or so to keep it fresh, and people will probably slow down to read what it says if you keep it interesting or funny enough.

Some inspiration on google images.
posted by lollusc at 7:30 PM on March 15, 2013

I live near someone who has a hidden driveway that comes out right after a stop sign that apparently, no one ever stopped at. I'm thinking, in addition to your written signs, you could maybe do what my neighbor did and put up flashing LED lights on the actual stop sign? Those suckers are BRIGHT, even in daytime. No way people won't see that sign.
posted by young sister beacon at 9:02 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, I think it would be pretty awesome if you could think up little jingles and put up series of signs, Burma-Shave style.
posted by young sister beacon at 9:04 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thing is, signs get ignored. It's a fact of transportation planning life. It's one reason planners are reluctant to add stop signs just anywhere, because it actually gives people more experience that ignoring signs is quite often non-fatal.

Insurance companies -- American Family, I think -- sometimes distribute signs urging people to SLOW DOWN! As long as they're temporary signs they MAY be legal in your terrace, but check your local ordinances -- even these are technically unlawful where I live.

I also remember a particularly sharp S-curve to get under a rail viaduct outside of town. For a long, long time it had a huge sign -- 12' by 12', I'm guessing -- with a reflective US-highway shield and the wording DANGER CURVE. Didn't stop somebody from killing themselves there about once a year, though. The only thing that changed things was reconfiguring the road so that it was a broader curve and you straightened out before going under the tracks.

What you probably want here isn't law enforcement or peer pressure or any of those things that just don't work. You want a permanent engineering solution. Try talking to your city public works about putting in curb bump-outs, for example. By narrowing the actual driving lanes, cars are psychologically forced to slow down. It also diminishes the distance that pedestrians need to cross in traffic. See what other traffic calming strategies your municipality has experience with.

There are also strategies you can use if your PD is willing to partner with an organization that will collect license plates and mail warning letters to the registered owner. This is a lot of work but specifically targets the small percentage of truly dangerous drivers. At the very least, they will have an incentive to choose another route.
posted by dhartung at 4:36 AM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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