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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.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 221111 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-08 09:50 AM

I love the sewer cover...Too funny. And oh so true!

 

 COMMENT 221137 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-08 11:15 AM

I heart your stories!!

 

 COMMENT 221176 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-08 01:18 PM

4th from the last should read: Caution: Drunk UPS Delivery Person Ahead

 

 COMMENT 221210P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-08 03:36 PM

#176, what does that sign really mean? I've never seen it before.

 

 GREG agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-09 06:57 AM

Your column/photos are too good to be discontinued. More please. These postings are much needed "glue" which contribute to our sense of community.

 

 SEEDLADY agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-09 07:47 AM

@210...:" loose aggregate on shoulder--Caution"

 

 COMMENT 221296 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-09 09:16 AM

I've enjoyed your stories. Sorry to see them coming to an end.

 

 COMMENT 221308 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-09 10:37 AM

Come on up to Santa Ynez Valley! There are many interesting streets to hike in Solvang, Los Olivos or Santa Ynez!

 

 COMMENT 221316 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-09 11:07 AM

I am the original painter of that SLOW WATCH FOR PETS sign with the kitty. I lived on that mesa st. for 17 years. I painted that sign because a water truck killed my beloved cat on Christmas Eve in 1996... barrelling down our street, which was a one lane cul de sac. I cannot believe that sign is still there, albeit a little worse for the wear now. I, too, love your stories, please don't stop doing them!

 

 STACE agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-09 11:52 AM

To Greg and Angelica - Urban Hikers here - As Mark Twain once commented, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated"...and so we’ll swipe his sentiment and assure you that while our mission of walking every street in Santa Barbara is indeed coming to an end very soon, our wanderings about town will continue indefinitely, as will our weekly Urban Hike submissions to Edhat. In one of David Powdrell’s articles in May this year he mentions the concept of “la flaneur”, which literally translated is “the person who walks in the city to experience it”. We like it, and happily consider ourselves among les flaneurs of modern day Santa Barbara. We will continue to be the urban observers that this project has taught us to become, and will persevere with our walking, observing, documenting and reporting. We’ve already walked many streets more than once, and have always seen interesting things we missed the first time around. With all that Santa Barbara has to offer, we couldn’t possibly stop now... Thanks for your interest, and be sure to join us next month when we finish up with the last of our un-hiked streets. Date, time and route to be announced as soon as we know it.

 

 BFMOUNTAIN agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-09 07:03 PM

I had a 'do not poop' sign in front of my place, a dalmation in the poop position with the universal 'do not' sign over it, and somebody pilfered it!! Anybody see it around? Would love to have it back. Said what I wanted in a succinct way.

 

 COMMENT 221696P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-11 09:37 AM

I opened your signs story to take a quick look and got sucked in. Fun and fascinating!! And how exciting that you're almost done seeing every street in the city! Glad to hear you'll be continuing to report :-)

 

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