Road Sign Sends the Wrong Message

Los Altos Hills posted this sign before a steep descent on Altamont Road.

You may wonder, “What is the meaning of this road sign? I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Don’t you get it? It warns there’s a steep descent ahead on Altamont Road in Los Altos Hills. And you thought it was a Superman spoof. I’m not making this up.

Richard Chiu, Los Altos Hills City Engineer/Public Works Director, confirmed that this sign, and two others, were put up by the town, working with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s department.

He is asking for your feedback.

If these signs were designed while conferring with cyclists – which I find hard to believe — shame on the cyclists who approved them.

They’re downright silly. Note that the sign on Page Mill Road showing a cyclist going over the handlebars – minus a front wheel – was replaced by the Superman sign.

The reason cyclists object to the signs is simple. They call out cyclists for no valid reason. Steep roads are as much a hazard to cars as they are to bikes. If traffic engineers insist on putting up a sign (there is sign pollution), go with the universally recognized steep-grade sign. (You can note that the grade is 17%, according to my inclinometer.)

Steep-road sign on Sonora Pass

I credit Los Altos Hills for putting up a sign on Moody Road that strikes the right note: “Share the Road.”

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