In response to the Coronado City Council’s approval of a $475,000 “wayfinding” program, councilman Richard Bailey has launched his own counter-initiative: a sign-reduction program to reduce unnecessary signage throughout the community.
On June 16, the city council approved the wayfinding program in a 4-to-1 vote with Bailey in the minority. The proposal, which originated in 2003, is designed to help tourists navigate around town and would include approximately 50 new signs and an informational kiosk.
“The feedback we received from that vote was overwhelmingly negative,” said Bailey. “That was an indicator to me that we needed to not just stop adding new signs, but to actually reduce the number of signs around town.”
According to Bailey, a common complaint by Coronado residents is that for such a small town, there’s an overabundance of signs. “Some are traffic signs, bike signs, parking signs and some of these are just signs for the sake of having a sign,” he said.
Bailey dubbed one of the most “superfluous” signs as a 12-foot red curb with a sign at the beginning that reads “no parking — begin” and is marked 12 feet later with a sign that reads “no parking — end.”
“It’s kind of outrageous that we would need two signs within 12 feet saying the same thing, when of course everyone knows that you can’t park on a red curb,” he said.
Coronado resident Brad Gerbel said he appreciates that “[Bailey] was the only member of the city council to vote against wasting taxpayer money on more unnecessary signs in Coronado. I appreciate that Councilman Bailey has taken the initiative to get the public involved in identifying signs throughout Coronado that do nothing more than detract from our village atmosphere.”
Resident Kaye Sweetser describes the beauty of Coronado as “simplicity of a life from days long past…. I’m proud to live in a community that so many people flock to, and as a resident I enjoy the benefits of tourism on Coronado. But we are a small ‘island’ and excessive signs are both unnecessary and erode the very things that make Coronado special.... We do not need more wayfinding signs, let alone at the obscene amount that the city recently paid for rather plain and unattractive ones.”
Like Gerbel and Sweetser, Bailey didn’t want the new signs with such a hefty price tag attached.
“How we get directions has really changed since 2003,” he said. “As you know, with technology these days and everyone having a smartphone, it’s easy to navigate anywhere, so signs aren’t needed as much as they used to be.”
Bailey has asked Coronado residents to identify unnecessary signage through email.
“So far, I have a list of about 200 signs that I want to suggest as candidates for removal,” he said. On September 1, he plans to request that his fellow councilmembers allocate time at a future meeting to determine the fate of these signs.
Coronado mayor Casey Tanaka was unable to comment on Bailey’s sign-reduction program.
“I don't usually take public positions on the initiatives of my colleagues prior to the council meeting that they are scheduled to be discussed and debated,” Tanaka said. He plans to “withhold judgement and remain impartial” until after the public has had a chance to voice opinions at an upcoming city council meeting.