With spring comes the annual ritual of spring cleaning, which leads to the preponderance of spring yard sales. Those seemingly benign rummage rituals often lead to headaches for workers from the state highway department.
Jim Wisniewski, traffic signal and lighting technician from the Arizona Department of Transportation, said the posting of rummage sale signs on traffic signal poles and streetlights is not only a pain in the neck for his department, but also a violation of state policy.
According to ADOT policy, "any unauthorized sign placed on the highway right-of-way by a private organization or individual constitutes a public nuisance. All unofficial and non-essential signs should be removed."
"Anyone posting a sign on a traffic light must have a permit in order to do so," Wisniewski said. "In all honesty, the state does not give out permits for things like yard sale signs."
Not everybody is satisfied with the mere posting of a brightly colored sign to a light pole; some attach their signs to cardboard boxes and place them on street corners, directing traffic to their sale.
That creates another problem, not only for ADOT, but for handicapped persons, as well.
"There's a sheer common sense problem with that," he said, "and that is that people in wheelchairs then have to try to maneuver around those obstructions. People in wheelchairs have to have access to the crossing buttons, and to the ramps.
"I picked up a box here last week, and I swear the people had 10 pounds of concrete holding it in place. I could barely get the thing off the ground."
The ongoing practice of violating the state's policy means more work for Wisniewski. He said he spends an average of two to three hours each Monday picking up signs and sign boxes from Payson highways.
"And, believe me, people don't realize that once you put a piece of tape on a light pole, and let it bake in the sun for a couple of days, it becomes a permanent part of the pole," he said.
At the present time, ADOT issues verbal warnings to those violating the sign policy, but if the problem persists, Wisniewski said fines could be levied.
For more information about sign policies, contact Wisniewski's office at 474-3472.