Monday, August 15, 2011

Citizen Activist At Work

I have already designated the sign that reads “
Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway
” as my favorite highway sign- or perhaps I should say my favorite “highway designation”. My favorite sign is (was) an illegally produced and installed freeway sign in Downtown LA, on the 110.

Until this sign was erected, drivers who wished to go north on the 5 had no idea which lane to travel in, or, for that matter, if the 5 continued north. The 5 south was clearly marked. So Richard Ankrom, a local artist, decided to help out motorists. He constructed the sign according to Caltrans’(the governmental agency that oversees the freeways) specifications, then climbed up over the freeway and installed it. No one stopped him (proving if you look like you know what you’re doing, you can get away with anything). It was up for weeks before anyone at Caltrans caught on to the fact that they had not put it up, nor had they authorized it. But- and here’s the most amazing thing- THEY LET IT STAY THERE.

That was in 2001. Finally, in 2008, they substituted their own official Caltrans sign in, which said exactly the same thing- so Mr. Ankrom’s sign has been up 10 years, helping motorists 24/7.

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