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More signs, thanks to the usual suspect

Tags Interventionism

One day in a nice community in Auburn, the construction crews arrived to pour concrete and build some very lovely bike and walking trails. How nice they were. But then a few months later, more crews arrived to install, all up and down the entire trail, the most ghastly array of stop signs, crossing details, no-motor-vehicle signs, do-this-don't-do-that signs, hundreds of them, or so it seems. It was like a bad joke, and joy turned to fury.

The situation is worsened by the confusions the signs introduce. The stop signs are so ambiguous that cars do not know whether and when they apply to bikers or drivers, and kids are confused about whether they can drive their electric scooters on the trails. Golf carts drivers have no idea what to do, since they were under the impression that the trails were actually put their for them in the first place (they were!), and now they are told that moter vehicles are not allowed.

The neighborhood association then sent out the following note: "There have been numerous complaints about the excessive number of sign along the walking trail. It is definitely an eyesore and does nothing to improve the look of our neighborhood. Please note that the addition of these signs was not a project support by the Board of Directors. The funding for the walking tail was provided by a grant from the federal government and the signs were installed by the City as required by the federal grant used to fund the walking trail project. ... the signs are necessary until the Alabama Department of Transportation... can re-evaluate and address the redundancy and height of the signs. Some signs may be eliminated, some removed and replace by painting on the concrete, and some may be replaced with a bollard. The mimimum sign height is 4 feet, so hopefully the remaining signs can be placed at this height..."

Ah, life under government rule! Somehow this incident, however small in the scheme of things, illustrates some notable principles, among which: don't take government money unless you want to be ruled by the funders; the government cares nothing about the value of your property; the government's way is to regiment life and make it more confusing even where liberty was working just fine; once the bureaucrats are in charge, you might never dislodge them, and you become utterly dependent on the bureaucrat process.


Contact Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Editorial Director of the American Institute for Economic Research. He is author of It's a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes and Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo. Send him mail.

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