I have a serious love hate relationship with them. Really, you wouldn't believe how much I think about this. Literally every time I step outside.
Let's start with the good ones.
Stops signs are gorgeous, I love em. Except when they are in the middle of nowhere and you have immense visibility in all directions and it is is clear that the next car to reach the intersection will arrive sometime next year. Ugh. Building directories are great, I love being able to find the office I am looking for. Tastefully placed, beautiful business signs are awesome too, thanks for letting me know where you are and who you are. A well placed yield sign is also one of my favorites, reminding us to be aware and pay attention to what's around us. Street signs are nice too, helping generations of people find their way. I am sure there are a few more that I really love and appreciate the value of, but I shall leave off to the fun part.
Signs I hate.
That bike lane sign right next to the brightly painted bike lane that has painted signs on the ground as well as on a post. Argh. That street in my city that has like ten thousand signs that repeat over and over and over and over and you can see ALL OF THEM. Bike Lane, No Parking, Center Lane Turn Only, Bike Lane, No Parking, Center Lane Turn Only, Bike Lane, No Parking, Center Lane Turn Only, Bike Lane, No Parking, Center Lane Turn Only, Bike Lane, No Parking, Center Lane Turn Only, Bike Lane, No Parking, Center Lane Turn Only... RAGE! How can we spend money like this? What idiot approved this? The snow route sign (you really need to tell us when there is two feet of snow on the ground and it becomes exceedingly obvious which roads are plowed first?). The crosswalk sign (I think the black and white stripes across the road are enough). Speed limit signs (we should be expected to drive respectfully and safely anyways, why do we need a sign?) The list goes on and on...
I feel there is a root issue here that needs addressing. Why do we expect ourselves as human beings to be so disrespectful and foolish in our travel habits? Do we honestly believe that someone is going to drive in the bike lane if there is no sign on the post? Are we creating stupidity and disrespect by expecting it? I think so. I think somehow we have been tricked into believing that we need this constant authority and policing in our lives to be aware of our surroundings and move through our day without killing each other.
What if we expected ourselves to be more aware and respectful of each other? What if we expected that when a car was coming up on a bike or a pedestrian, he or she would slow down and happily give right of way and share without having to be told to?
I drive/bike/walk by one rule. I must be aware of 100% of my surroundings to travel and move amongst you all, the moment I realize I am not, I must slow down. A lot.
We are all in such a hurry all the time to get where we are going and do what we are doing, as if in our own narcissistic way we are the only thing that matters so you better GET OUT OF THE WAY!
We are all part of this daily experience of being alive together and moving about in time and space is part of that. We should slow down and enjoy it rather than cluttering our view with rules and indications that are irrelevant and only bog us down.