Signs, signs everywhere

By Russell Sanders

“Signs, signs everywhere signs, blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind, do this don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?”
You may recognize that as lyrics to a 1970 protest song, but there is an important message in those words.
Did you know there are six “No Dogs Allowed In The Park” signs posted along the east side of Ross Park facing South Second Avenue? Most people don’t notice until the park regulation is pointed out to them. There have been so many dogs loose in the park it seems funny to even have the signs up if no one pays any attention to the restriction.
There is another group of signs that are posted along that stretch of road running through the park that pertain to the speed limit. Seems this year there were more than a few motorists who didn’t read them and had an opportunity to meet with Pocatello’s finest. I’m sure our traffic patrol officers were quick to remind those offenders of the correct mile per hour limit while in Ross Park. However, depending on the season, the limits do change; slower in the summer for park visitor safety and to allow the park  and zoo maintenance vehicles to safely navigate the grounds.
But there was yet another sign in the park this summer: the Cheyenne Crossing project, which has been underway for most of the year. The construction site went through stages where it wasn’t safe for traffic to pass, and warning of the travel status of the road was a big electric sign informing drivers that the avenue was closed during the hours of 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was interesting to see how many drivers paid no attention to the warning on that big flashing message board. Those motorists who were on their cellphones were the biggest offenders.
Public policy messages seem to be some of the most overlooked signs in the city as a plumbing crew recently found out while inspecting Pocatello’s downtown fountain. What they found was that someone not only ignored the posting but also threw good sense right out the window as well. The signs there reads, “ No Wading, No Swimming, No Skateboarding” and so on. As a witness to the incident, I would suggest they add “No Defecating” to the list because that’s what someone decided to do. The park’s plumbers do their best to keep that fountain pool clean, but it is up to the public to be mindful of their actions as well.
Willfulness seems to be a growing sign in the young of our community as well. The traffic signs with representations of a pedestrian, 2-foot-tall, warning drivers to stop, allowing foot traffic passage, seem meaningless. A couple of years back after mowing one side of a west side park I pushed a hand mower to the curb to cross the street. A car slowed to a stop to allow my crossing but the car behind revved his engine, swerved out into the other lane and zoomed through the intersection. The driver of the first car motioned to me and drove off as well. Not more than 10 minutes later, the first car reappeared and out jumped detective Marshall of the Pocatello Police Department who explained that he was able to catch and ticket the offending driver for ignoring a few things, one of them being the sign, the other, me, and the possibility that they could lose access to his livelihood through the loss of a license because of an unthinking act. Who says there is never a cop around when you need them?
There seems to be so many signs. For instance, our mayor’s going to the government to inform Congress of the mess our postal service has become — a sign that our Constitution is being usurped. In regard to our black, brown and tan community seeing the Confederate flag being displayed with pride, well, that could be an indication of a resurgence in the Klan membership in our city. As a concerned body, Pocatello’s black population has always kept a weather eye on any signs of white supremacy in this predominately Mormon community. The history of the Klan in the Gate City is an interesting one.
For those of you who travel the streets of Old Town Pocatello between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., you might recognize this next sign that greeted you every morning this summer. Behind the headlights of a green 4-wheeler, I presented you all with the peace sign and a flashing amber caution light, moving along North and South Arthur Avenue, East and West Center Street and North and South Main Street watering the Old Town hanging plants. I would like you all to know that was the only way to get your attention when riding headfirst into oncoming traffic. BTW thanks for your smiles and other gestures.

Russell Sanders is a Pocatello resident who worked in radio for 20 years.