City of Hayward installs creative signs



The traffic sign on display on the corner of Carlos Bee Blvd and Hayward Blvd. The sign was installed in early February by the City of Hayward.

The City of Hayward has taken a different approach to get drivers to slow down and pedestrians to pay attention.

Seven unorthodox traffic signs were installed in early February alongside Hayward Boulevard. The signs vary, one with a bright yellow background and the words, “Heads up! Cross the street. Then update Facebook,” while another has a white background, featuring a money donation box on it, and the words: “35— It’s a speed limit, not a suggestion,” written across it.

StreetSignsbyShannonStroud-9“The reason for the unconventional approach is because for most people, street signage simply blends into the background; it’s like white noise,” said Frank Holland, a Hayward city employee and point person for the traffic sign project. “The point is to capture people’s attention by juxtaposing an unexpected message with a traditional medium,” he said.

The new traffic signs are a pilot project that was sparked by the community a few months ago. Holland explained that residents of the Hayward Highlands and surrounding area were concerned about the number of unsafe drivers and excessive speeds.

Holland developed the concept of the signs but the installation and creation of the signs was a collaborative effort made by different departments throughout  the city.

“The two people who really brought it to life were Tim Lohnes, a designer in our Planning Department, and Rod Affonso in our Streets Division. Tim did the original designs and Rod actually produced the signs,” said Holland.

The new signs will not replace traditional traffic signs, but will supplement them. To produce and install each sign cost the city $205.

Besides the addition of the traffic signs to help combat speeding the city has deployed the ‘Ex3 Strategy: Enforcement, Education and Engineering.’ Holland explains that the Ex3 strategy includes the help of the Hayward Police Department to enforce the speed limit and the city’s Public Works Engineering and Transportation department to examine options to calm traffic citywide.

Although it is too early to tell if the traffic signs have had an impact on speeders, it has sparked a conversation about safe driving worldwide.

Hayward’s traffic signs have been in news coverage from the Bay Area to the New York Times all the way to ABC radio in Melbourne, Australia.
In Hayward, social media has proven that residents have had a positive reaction to the traffic sign project.

Virginia E. Rosas, tweeted “As a proud Hayward resident, I think the new traffic signs are a positive addition for Hayward safety,” and fellow Hayward resident, Lee Davenport tweeted, “I absolutely love them,” in regards to the signs.

Holland hopes that all the publicity about the signs will convince people to adjust their behavior and slowdown.

If the city receives positive feedback about the new traffic signs from residents through comment card, letters and social media sent to the City of Hayward, they plan on installing more in the future elsewhere in the city.

Holland said he would love the help of students and the community to create new text for the signs.

All ideas and suggestions regarding the signs can be sent to the Community and Media Relations Office in City Hall.