Stop, yield, no parking
VAIL, Colorado ” Are you looking for a sign? For direction, instructions, or reassurances?
Hawkeye Flaherty can help you. Maybe he already has. Just make sure you notice the signs he places before you. Because, as Flaherty knows, people sometimes ignore them even when they’re in plain sight.
“The only time people read signs is when they’re lost or confused,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty, who is also the mayor of Minturn, has created plenty of signs on the blue table of the town of Vail sign shop, where he works. There are “parking” signs, and there are “no parking” signs. There are stop signs, and there are speed-limit signs.
There are directional signs (this way to Vail Village) and there are “do not enter” signs.
“We cover the whole gamut,” Flaherty said.
On Thursday, he had just created four colorful signs that identified a conservation easement. He was getting ready to start on an event bigger project: making signs for hundreds of parking spaces to let people know about the new parking rates that will take effect next winter.
“That’s a big project,” he said.
Today, he was creating a “no parking on all streets” sign. He called up the template on his computer, and put a piece of red vinyl in his plotter machine, which cut out the letters “O-N A-L-L S-T-R-E-E-T-S” with precision.
He took a blank aluminum sign and drew lines on it to so the letters would be centered and then used a piece of transfer tape to put the letters on the sign. He sprayed some alcohol on the sign and wiped off the lines.
“There you go,” he said. “It’ll even shine in the dark.”
There’s always a need for more signs. They get knocked over. They get defaced. A special event often needs a new sign. And, yes, they even get stolen. The directional signs along the bike path are a frequent victim, Flaherty said.
They wear out, too. Signs usually last about 10 years before they can no longer be read, Flaherty said.
One of Flaherty’s favorite signs is a huge 2009 Vail and Beaver Creek Skiing World Championships sign that supported that bid, which was unsuccessful.
“We didn’t get the championships, but it wasn’t because of the sign,” Flaherty said.
But just because they make a lot of signs doesn’t mean there should be a lot of signs on the street. Less is better, when possible, Flaherty said.
“We try to figure out ways to get rid of the sign pollution,” he said. “We’re always trying to eliminate it.”
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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