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URBAN HIKE

Signs of the Times
updated: Oct 08, 2011, 9:30 AM

By the Urban Hikers, Stacey Wright and Peter Hartmann

This week we continued our quest to walk all 256 miles of public streets within the city limits of Santa Barbara, and rather than report on a specific neighborhood or a hike we've taken, we prefer to share a few of the amusing and interesting signs we've seen along the way. And we mean signs-- literally.

In the early days of our project we paid more attention to the hiking, and less to photographing what we saw on our journey. It was however, this apropos sign that caught our eyes and prompted us to begin photo-documenting in earnest. To date, we've accumulated thousands of photos chronicling our odyssey, many of which are true signs of the times. We're trying not to be cynical or political, but wow! This caught our attention.

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On a lighter note, here's a collection of "Children Playing" signs we found in various neighborhoods around town. As you can see, in some of the neighborhoods the children play with toys and pets, in others they seem to enjoy cycling and fishing, and in others they have no toys at all.

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We even found a ‘hood where, with the help of a sweet homemade sign, residents plead with drivers to slow down for their pets.

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But our favorite be-careful-for-our-love-ones sign was this one, which we saw on the Lower Westside. We're especially fascinated by the infant crawling into the street. Please be extra careful when you drive, and be on the lookout for "boys playing," including possible crawling infants.

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Santa Barbarans are very generous by nature, and we have the signs to prove it. We've encountered people giving away free pumpkins, free furniture, and even free mattresses.

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We believe this sign is advertising something free, but we aren't positive. Maybe it's a sign for a free sign.

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And then there are the gardeners who offer free fruit. There is some good free stuff out there; that's for sure.

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But then we came upon this sign.

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We discussed things and decided we'd pass on the offer. Seems we just didn't have a good recipe. Or did we miss something? Like with any town, Santa Barbara has lots and lots of cautionary signs. Some are heeded and others unfortunately aren't.

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Some signs aren't intended to be cautionary but nevertheless seem to send that message.

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Many of the signs we've encountered warn of real dangers. For example electrocution, punishment for violation of governmental regulations, and lifestyle choices.

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And others warn of even more hazardous situations, like falling off cliffs, asphyxiation, high voltage, wild fires and razor wire. We aren't really sure how effective the razor wire is at this site though, considering it seems to cover only about half of the entry gate. Oh well, we're just hikers. We don't claim to be security specialists.

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Perhaps one of the most ominous signs we've come across is this one, which threatens an in-person quid pro quo if you violate their warning.

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We would like to remind everyone that there are other, less aggressive ways to get the message across that one should be responsible for one's canine companion. Some are downright civilized, and others not so much. In the end, they all send a clear message.

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On our journey through the streets of Santa Barbara, we've passed hundreds of traffic and street signs. Some of the signs we've seen are frankly more memorable than others. Perhaps we're drawn to these signs because they're simple reminders in an otherwise very complicated world. Not to mention we both like the color yellow. So for what it's worth, we think these signs are worth your time.

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And then there's this sign, which we found on the Westside.

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Simply put, it's a phony. While the top part of the sign is official, the bottom part has been added by people who apparently don't like cars driving up their street. The sign is false. There's plenty of room at the end of the street; in fact the area is big enough to allow a vehicle the size of a fire truck to turn around. Sadly we've seen several incidents of residents altering signs to suit their own self-serving needs. Not cool.

After nearly two years of urban hiking, we're almost at the end of our quest to walk every street in the city limits. In the process we've passed many city limit signs and other markers indicating the city/county boundary line. We love to see these markers because they remind us that we're making progress.

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Which brings us to our last topic. If all goes according to plan, we'll conclude our Santa Barbara Urban Hike project sometime in November 2011. We're planning a celebration, which will involve a final hike into De La Guerra Plaza, and hereby invite you to join us for the hike, the celebration, and the revelry. Stay tuned for more details as we approach our final hike.

 

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