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10/07/2010: "Bad Sign"
While there's no arguing with the good intentions of LA's new "Give Me 3" campaign, we could quibble a bit with the placement of many of the signs....

gimme_3 (145k image)
Click for larger image
It's a notable idea with a noble goal: increase awareness of cyclists on Shakytown's roadways, and serve (with luck) as precursor to a statewide "Safe passing" law, mandating what is called for by common sense and simple decency: that motorists leave at least three feet between their vehicles and "vulnerable users" when they pass.

Unfortunately, so far, the majority of the signs I've seen are not facing the street, where they will be seen by habitual, they are facing the sidewalks, where they will be seen by walkers and bus riders. While in Los Angeles, cyclists are often drivers as well, there is a much greater divide between transit users and drivers, with little overlap (though that is changing as we add more fast and comfortable rail lines).

So while bus riders may find the suggestion laudable, they have little opportunity to put it in to practice. And the drivers whizzing by on the street (almost always above the speed limit, of course, except at rush hour) can't see the damn signs!

I've also seen the signs facing the street, but the wrong way: aimed at the backs of passing cars. The one that Streetsblog photographed also faced away from motor traffic.

This is odd since both the sidewalks kiosks and the bus shelters where these are installed include panels oriented towards the street so that drivers will easily see them.

Maybe those panels are more expensive? Perhaps it's mere cluelessness...or (cue ominous music) actual subversion of the campaign?

I don't know, and I hope future installations will actually face the drivers the signs address in most, not just some, cases. But right now I see it as a wasted effort.

Then again, I've come across only a dozen or so of these so far, so I could very well be wrong. I hope I am.

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