Candidates Warned Of ACHD Sign Law

Ada County residents have endured nearly two months of polluted smokey air, now we have POLITICAL SIGN SEASON!

Ada County Highway District has offered political candidates free use of the public right of way for political advertising signs–BUT WITH CONDITIONS.

An ACHD spokesman turned down an offer by the GUARDIAN to organize “volunteer sign law deputies,” to discourage illegal sign displays by politicos and their followers. He said something about not needing vigilantes and encouraged complaints be filed with the ACHD at 387-6110. ALL of the signs in the photo would be illegal under the new law because they are within 6 feet of the curb.

It will be interesting to see if ACHD actually enforces the ordinance or relies on the integrity of politicians to not violate the law.

Here is the text of the letter sent to candidates by Director Bruce S. Wong

Dear Candidate:
I would like to inform you of new rules regarding the placement of political signs along Ada County roadways as we head into the November 6, 2012 General Election. The Ada County Highway District Commission has adopted an ordinance regulating signs that we hope will make it easier for you to know where to place your signs while also ensuring that safety is maintained for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

You are welcomed and encouraged to place your signs where they will do you the most good – as long as they are far enough back from the roadside or intersection to avoid creating a sight obstruction. As of September 19, 2012, ACHD’s new ordinance will come into full legal effect. Provisions of the ordinance include:

–No sign placement can create a visual barrier for drivers, pedestrian or cyclists trying to navigate the roads

–Signs must be placed outside of the vision triangle, a space 40 feet back from the point in the intersection where the curb lines or the edge of pavement on roads without curbs would meet near the center of the intersection.
–Signs must be placed no closer than 6 feet behind the back of the curb or 12 from the edge of pavement on roads without curbs

–No sign can be placed in roadway landscaping areas, including in medians, in roundabouts or within the parking strips between the curb and the sidewalk.

–No flashing lights or effects, which could create a hazardous distraction, are allowed.

–No signs can be placed on signal poles, on traffic signs or on any other piece of public road infrastructure.

–Signs must be removed within 48 hours of the election.

The ordinance includes a number of other provisions governing ACHD enforcement authority to remove signs creating hazards and recouping the costs for enforcement (please see the attached section of ACHD Code). Signs found in violation of this ordinance may be removed by ACHD personnel and can be recovered at headquarters, 3775 Adams St., unless they are damaged or lost.

As I hope you can appreciate, our goal here is compliance and maintaining roadway safety during the campaign season. We hope this packet makes it easier for you to locate safe and efficient places to locate your signs and wish you well in the campaign.

If you have any question regarding this information, please do not hesitate to call me at 387-6110. Thanks for your willingness to serve and for your shared commitment to safety.

Bruce S. Wong,
ACHD Director

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I’m skeptical we’ll see much actual change. Enforcement seems pretty much nonexistent. Consider: “Temporary” signs (other than political, house for sale, etc.) are illegal, and have been for years, yet how many signs do you see for:
    – TV and Internet $39.95
    – Sprinkler Blowouts
    – Personal Trainer
    – Yard Sale (weeks after the sale took place)
    etc., etc.

  2. Mr. Wong,
    Please clear the weeds and generally clean up ACHD controlled areas. Many intersections have overgrowth of vegetation blocking the view of cross traffic and even stop signs in many cases. Nearly all of your roadways are lined with weeds and look trashy. Too many of your bridge abutments and manhole covers provide a nasty bump and the rockchips you insist on spreading cause addition tire stress while also increasing emergency stopping distance.

    EDITOR NOTE–You seem off topic Zip. The story is about political signs. At least give Wong some specifics so he can fix a problem. How about a location or even a photo to show the man?

  3. Continuing off-topic…

    My experience is that if you give ACHD specifics about an individual problem, they’re usually quite responsive in getting it resolved, or explaining why it is the way it is, at least.

    And it’s easy; just email:

    (I contact them when the intersection signals don’t respect my bicycle and give me a green light, broken glass in the road, etc.)

  4. More off topic:

    While he’s out policing political signs, he can notice the weeds and trash and get it on the schedule. Should be lots of slack labor right now too, because he’s done with chipseal with several months before snow and ice.

  5. On Topic:

    Candidates just put signs wherever they want…..

    Here is what I was Told…..

    If a candidate puts a sign where it is not allowed they get picked up by ACHD. Then the candidate goes and picks up the pile from ACHD and puts them back. kinda a cat and mouse, but you will get good locations.


  6. Man, I wish they’d let volunteers deal with signs that aren’t meeting the requirements. I understand the reasons they don’t, but I think there’s far more potential for signs to violate the rules than there is for people to pluck out non-offending signs just because they don’t like the candidate.

  7. FYI: If a sign is posted on private land the owner/manager of said land can remove it without a trace. ACHD should do the same.

    Unlawful mailbox-stuffers this year? I have the phone number of a postal cop who will investigate.

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