‘We’ve got it all’: Road crews clear signs blocking intersections

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Roadside signs advertising candidates are as much a part of politics as shaking hands and kissing babies.

There is nothing illegal about signs in Kent County as long as they are 15 feet from the edge of the sidewalk and 150 feet from an intersection.

Some signs will inevitably be posted against the rules and will need to be removed. In recent weeks, business has picked up for road crews who collect signs classified as a traffic hazard. The confiscated signs are piling up at the Kent County Road Commission’s four workshops.

There are also signs for businesses in the mix.

“Mobile phone repair. Do you have vines? – I don’t really know what that means,” said Jerry Byrne, deputy chief executive of the Roads Commission, as he pulled some non-political signs from the pile.

The shed where the Kent County Roads Authority discards yard signs. (10/17/2022)
A shed where the Kent County Roads Authority put up street signs. (10/17/2022)

Still, the overwhelming majority in November’s election is for politicians and causes.

“I would say 80% of them are political at the moment. The rest is for sale,” Byrne said. “We support the process and the country in which we live. What we do not support is disruption to public safety.”

All confiscated signs were found too close to an intersection and often crowded together.

“Vision is our greatest concern. If you stack half a dozen signs at this intersection, you’ll reduce visibility at this intersection,’ Byrne said.

Even small, meter-high signs can create blind spots.

“You’re in a smaller car, it’s at eye level, and if the motorcycle, pedestrian, scooter or whatever[stops]you’ll be a few seconds past that sign,” Byrne said. “It’s also a distraction. …You should drive, you shouldn’t read signs when you’re at an intersection.”

Byrne stressed that it was about security, not politics.

“And it doesn’t matter if they’re Democrats or Republicans,” Byrne said.

That hasn’t stopped some office seekers from berating the road authority.

“Some of the accusations are, ‘You’re just targeting our group.’ It’s like come down and show me where? Because I think we all have it,” Byrne said.

It’s difficult for the highway crews, busy preparing for the winter season, to keep up.

“The army of people raising these vastly outnumbers our people. So we have people doing it every day, but we’re not going to have 150 people doing it every day,” Byrne said. “Could we? Probably. But we won’t.”

https://www.woodtv.com/news/kent-county/we-have-everybodys-road-crews-clear-signs-jamming-intersections/ 'We've got it all': Road crews clear signs blocking intersections

Dais Johnston

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