Letter to the Editor: Complaints about Edmonds sandwich-board signs ‘a tempest in a teapot’

Editor,

The recent “furor” on the part of a few unhappy individuals re: business “A”-board signs seems to me the very definition of a tempest in a teapot.  It is so unfortunate that the self-defined aesthetic of a grumbley few can be used to hurt so many others.

While all can certainly agree that signs which impede pedestrians and congest narrow sidewalks are undesirable, banning such signs because an overly sensitive few think them ugly and unsightly is bad for business, bad for consumers and just plain bad public policy.  Edmonds already has a fairly restrictive set of ordinances governing lighted and permanent business signs; taking away the ability to put out the familiar sandwich-board signs would be a further hindrance to business and just plain mean-spirited.

I have lived in Seattle, Shoreline and Edmonds; I regularly visit Edmonds and do business in the community. No one wants the Highway 99-type clutter of neon signs in Edmonds.  But the attractive, well made A-board signs serve a very positive purpose for the community.  These signs provide valuable information to residents and consumers (as much more visible high-profile signs are disallowed). Such signs also allow businesses, in a very unobtrusive manner, to make their presence known to the public.  And despite the narrow minded opinion of some, these signs lend an atmosphere to the neighborhood that conveys vibrancy and activity.

The anti-sign faction would have us believe that the cold, sterile appearance of a quiet cemetery is superior to an active, vibrant and largely self-contained community of residents and businesses existing together in harmony and mutual benefit.  My sense from most Edmonds residents I talk to is that this latter opinion is in the majority.  I for one prefer healthy communities with healthy businesses to the quiet of empty storefronts and empty sidewalks.

Mike Mikkelsen
Shoreline, WA

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7 Comments

  1. Thanks Mike! I was the business who’s sandwich board was on the front page and would like to say that in no way would we ever place our sign in the middle of the sidewalk where it would impede pedestrians as it is depicted on the front page. I am here to serve the community and would love nothing more than to increase awareness of this great town to all. I live in this town and I chose to start a business here so that we all could have a place to meet new friends and bring the community together. Yes, I use an A-sign and I believe 100% that if I didn’t most people would keep walking by. We live in a time where people need something to grab their attention and that’s exactly what these signs do. In a tasteful way of course.. Thank you for support. I appreciate you and your effort.

  2. We live in paradise (as far as I’m concerned). Businesses are the economic engines of that paradise. If they do well, we all do well. I think we are blessed to live in a community where there are small business with small signs. If the sign is blocking a path, that’s one thing, but I live, shop and walk in downtown Edmonds and rarely have seen a sign in anyone’s way.

  3. I read the article and saw the picture of signs along the strip mall on Edmonds Way close to 100th. The shops are away from the street and the signs alert drivers to their presence. In no way do they hinder pedestrians. I agree with many others that the signs are a sign of vitality in Edmonds. I think most Edmonds residents want local businesses to succeed. The signs are one way to help.

    • Marc Jenn

      A passage way or pedestrian spaces adjacent is for common people convenience but not for business.
      Any illegally posting any signs on or around the pedestrian area and impede people free walking ,for which they must pay their fine to the city.we can see the .public interest is all the way more than the business benefit.
      good and thrive businesses may not need many signs like flowers appreciated people.
      this is a serious issues that can give other community an inadvertent sample where as we can see somewhere hanging on signs along the road ,which like North Gate Town in every direction.
      the community city need pay alerted to those raising issues.

  4. Please see 4.3.2 Cross-Slope and 4.3.3 Width.

    “Most of the guidelines reviewed concur with ADAAG, which specifies that the minimum passage width for wheelchairs should be 0.815 m (32 in) at a point and 0.915 m (36 in) continuously (ADAAG, U.S. Access Board, 1991). Additional width is necessary for turning and maneuvering.”
    Also please make sure that you are not placing your A boards in the clear path, over the cross slope of driveways.

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/sidewalks/chap4a.cfm

  5. The A-boards are a pleasant reminder of a specific business that someone might miss as they hurry through downtown Edmonds. I’ve never seen any placed in the middle of a sidewalk. Better all the sidewalk cracks and raised concrete be fixed so we don’t trip on them – it’s a huge problem in the downtown area.

  6. they are an eyesore . they are a work-around for businesses that want to avoid paying for prime locations , but want the benefits of a prime location.

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