HURRICANE – As innocent and heartwarming as “welcome home” banners taped along public thoroughfares may be, and as purposeful as garage sale and lost kitty signs are to both the one posting them and the people they reach, a proliferation of these in the wrong places creates not only eyesores, nuisance and costs to cities and state but, in some cases, dangers as well.
Over the past several months Hurricane City has experienced more and more signs being posted in or on the public right-of-way, including street signs, utility poles, and signal light poles. In a statement issued Wednesday, the city essentially admonished the public “don’t do it,” it is a problem and it is against the law. Utah Department of Transportation experiences concerns with signs on state highways as well, perhaps most particularly when those banners are stretched across a public overpass. As with Hurricane City, the message of UDOT is simply, “don’t do it,” if those banners tear in the wind or come free and fall down across a motorist’s windshield or in such a way as to startle or distract a motorist, the results can be injurious if not fatal.
“Our biggest concern with these big ‘welcome home Elder so and so from your mission, is people are posting them on the overpasses, the banner is not attached properly and the wind catches it and it lands down below on a car and they crash,” Todd Abbott, UDOT roadway operations manager, said.
“We don’t allow them on bridges,” Abbott said, “they don’t think about what can happen if that banner falls off.”
Hurricane city authorities said they are finding several issues concerning the posting of signs.
One of the bigger problem areas is at 3400 West State Street near Wal-Mart, Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said. “A lot of people are posting signs on the traffic signal poles.”
The main concerns with these temporary signs people are posting are:
- They are a distraction to those driving vehicles, as it deters their focus from on the road to the shoulder of the road, and could be a potential cause to a crash.
- The goo from tape is a sticky problem for the city. The signs are being affixed with tape or other materials that leave a residue on the post that destroys the paint. The residue left by the tape is very expensive and time consuming to remove or replace damaged posts. The city funds and time could be better utilized on other projects.
- The signs are not being removed, leaving litter and debris from signs falling off or being torn off and thrown on the ground.
Except as otherwise authorized by law, the Hurricane City Ordinances prohibit the posting, sticking, stamping, painting or otherwise fixing of any notice, placard, bill, card, poster, advertisement or other paper or device calculated to attract the attention of the public upon any sidewalk, curb, lamppost, public utility pole or shade tree, or electric light, telegraph, telephone or railway structure, hydrant, tree box, columns, trusses, girders, railings, gates or other parts of any bridge or other public structure or building, or any pole, box or fixture of the fire alarm or police telegraph system, or on any public structure or building, among other things. See full text here: Ordinances 4-6-2 and 4-6-6G.
State Law also prohibits posting signs on or in the right-of-way of state Highways – for example, state Route 9 – but allows exceptions, for example signs advertising: the sale or lease of the property upon which they are located, activities conducted on the property where they are located. Also excepted from the state’s “Protection of Highways Act” are: signs located in a commercial or industrial zone; signs located in unzoned industrial or commercial areas as determined from actual land uses; these areas may nonetheless be subject to municipal ordinances, such as the Hurricane ordinances. Logo advertising under contract with the Department of Transportation for specified purposes is another of listed exceptions to the Protection of Highways Act sign prohibitions.
If an item has been posted unlawfully, the city or state has a right to remove and dispose of that item and violators may be fined or prosecuted.
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