Home > Complete Streets, Cultural Movement, dangerous by design, Design the Details, Tools & Ingenuity, Traffic Calming, Walking > Does speeding have you at your wits end?…Make some signs

Does speeding have you at your wits end?…Make some signs

Community supported blogging?


Speed kills: What are you gonna do about it?


Always appreciative of Daniel Pink’s emotionally intelligent signage series.

The posting of the above sign was timely because I saw it shortly after a phone call with a friend who called me out of complete frustration with cars speeding by her Traverse City home. She lives near a heavily foot-trafficked intersection and has gone through Traverse City’s traffic committee process, her neighborhood’s traffic committee process, and has reached out repeatedly to the City police department to increase enforcement of the 25-mph zone…nothing has worked to help slow down traffic. The latter doesn’t pull people over unless they are going over 35-mph (more on that bullshit nonsense later).

At a certain point, taking things into your own hands is the best option. It may or may not be apparently effective, but it adds a bit of fun to the situation (on my street, we experiment with duct-tape delineation (TW) and even the penguin’s were working until stolen).

There is a market for emotional signage…Recently, a reader sent me the following image from Kingsley, Michigan, where  the community took the polite route to nudge people to slow down through the village’s main drag and neighborhood.

Kingsley’s emotional plea

In another emotional appeal from Pink’s blog, he highlights a sign from the sign company Drive Like Your Kids Live Here, which sells different versions of the same message. This is certainly a sign I could see being popular in Traverse City. 

In the town of Needham, Massachusetts, the community went for the heart-strings of drivers by having children make the appeals to slow down (Boston Globe). The town manager wrote a letter describing the strategy (.doc), “the goal of this project…was to raise awareness of the importance of speeding on local streets, and it is clear that the community is engaged and drivers are noticing these signs and thinking about their purpose.”

Needham making signs personal–do you hate kids? 

Signs aren’t going to “solve” the speeding issues in our neighborhoods, but that isn’t really the point of these emotional appeals. It’s more about showing that people, residents, are present and need to be expected to be present by those oblivious to the context of the community they are driving through.  So show them. And, don’t be afraid to be a little whacky…

via How We Drive

Signs like the one above would make  David Engwicht, who champions creating “intrigue and uncertainty”  to reclaim neighborhood streets, proud.

I can get behind that–a little cognitive dissonance created in the minds of drivers is likely to pull them out of their morning commute stupor or their end of the day slog home more than you think. Once you have them thinking about the context they are in, it is only a quick skip and a jump to realizing they are driving a 2-ton machine of death too fast for context.

What messages can you come up with? Please share…


A few from the scribble pad and with a bit more umph:

Just place on tree lawn

Same theme, a little more direct:

I’ll go back to the scribble pad with any ideas shared here. If you’d like to organize a sign-making soiree, I encourage you to do so…keep readers posted or send me a message.

  1. ocschwar
    May 18, 2012 at 9:40 am

    “25 MPH speed encouraged by big dumb bricks on the edge of the sidewalk.”

    That stretch of grass in front of your home is yours. Get some bricks and mortar and build a few 3′ tall posts. Put a 25MPH on top of THAT.

    Much more effective.

  2. Raymond Minervini
    May 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I think the Kingsley solution and the “Drive like your kids live here” would be the most effective City-sanctioned solution. Perhaps each neighborhood could also agree on there own signature message signs that could be placed somewhere smart near the street, maybe on or in parked vehicles (which also provide some traffic calming).

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