“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”…From the 1971 hit song by the Five Man Electrical Band.
Yes, read the sign, but caveat lector, or, let the reader beware. Last Monday, Meritha and I drove out to Priddis, a beautiful area southwest of Calgary, to look at the fall colors. The trees were still green, and so we’ve made a date to return on October 7, our 53rd anniversary. It’s also two weeks after her surgery for pancreatic cancer. (The update is that the operation was successful, and she is now beginning her 4th day of recovery and is doing well, although recovery from this surgery is quite complicated. We are video chatting each day – aren’t we modern – and highly recommend it!)
Here is a SIGN we saw on the way back from Priddis. I was dumbfounded because it clearly shows, in huge letters and arrows in white reflective paint, that there are two lanes for eastbound traffic on Stoney Trail. The other sign on the overpass clearly indicates that northbound Stoney Trail is not open for traffic.
But look at the westbound traffic in a lane that is clearly marked EAST. I had a conversation with the signalman in the yellow suit, and he told me that contractors assume that the orange pylons will signal to drivers that there are opposing lanes. (He also told me that in his job he sees a lot of misleading signage, although this one is probably the most dangerous.)
Let’s assume that late some night someone veers and knocks down a few pylons west of the overpass, and then someone else takes the sign literally. It’s a head-on waiting to happen and borders on criminal neglect. I’ve driven all over Canada and the United States, driven in Istanbul and have been in numerous other cities in Europe and South America. Dar es Salaam in Tanzania – I’ve driven there – is the only place I’ve seen that has sloppier signage than we do. OK, Dar es Salaam is much worse.
I’m embarrassed to have friends from out of province or country, drive into Calgary. Even at the shiny new Foothills Hospital Parkade, this is the sign you see when you are exiting. Don’t see it? It’s that little 12 x 12 green patch on the extreme left side of the opening. It could easily have been four or five times as large, but then, this is Calgary. Who is in charge of traffic signs in this province?
Meritha’s care at Foothills has been excellent, the doctors and nurses professional, and with spot on bedside manners. We couldn’t be happier. But here is a photo of the entrance doors, to the hospital. They’re not frosted, just dirty. I don’t think I’ve seen a service station or tire shop with doors so filthy. Foothills has a 4 ½ billion dollar budget. There’s no excuse.
That’s today’s rant, and update. I really want to thank the hundreds of people that have sent prayers and best wishes to Meritha and me during this past six weeks. We’ve had a lot of bumps on our road so we’re used to this sort of thing, and I can honestly say that we came to this one with confidence.
Next week, maybe we’ll take a look at the Liberal budget, and the great concern expressed (OK, I’m joking) for Western Canada’s oil industry, and the tens of thousands of unemployed workers. Arrgghh!!
I’m Dave Reesor