Letter to the editor

February 4, 2010

By Contributor

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City should return its sign code to original 2005 standards

The Newcastle sign standards pushed through by former City Manager John Starbard should be replaced by our original standards, adopted in 2005 after an extensive public process. The new signs lose by all measures: safety, information, readability, cost and appearance. Treat them like convicted felons: three strikes and they’re out.

Strike one: Park signs. The January Newcastle News said the city had removed six signs from near Windtree Park and Highlands Park because of size, “traffic visibility problems” and multiple complaints. Residents said the signs didn’t blend in, looked out of place, and were dangerous, with thin metal edges and corners “placed right at toddler eye level.”

Newcastle’s original standard is safer and more informative. It uses Bellevue’s design, with signplates held in an attractive rounded frame — no sharp edges. Moreover, small icons indicate park facilities: You can see at a glance if a park has restrooms.

Strike two: Street signs. The street signs on south Coal Creek Parkway use the new color — somewhere between chartreuse and bile green. The light background makes white lettering less readable: An out-of-town friend wondered why the “faded” signs hadn’t been replaced. These signs may not meet federal and state DOT visibility standards. Let’s stick with forest green.

Strike three: Trail signs. The original standard allows signplates on all four sides of a signpost; walkers from any direction can see their options (destinations and distances) displayed on the side facing them. The new standard uses at most two opposing faces of the signpost. The old signplates cost less than $5; the new ones cost about $200.

The hurried adoption of new sign standards erased years of work by citizens who voted for the original city logo (designed by a local artist), helped install trail signs and worked on park sign standards in 2004-2005. It says to them “your work, your opinions and your votes don’t count.”

Our new council has halted the replacement of existing signage. Perhaps they can restore the original signplates and historic logo and ask NBBJ, the consultant on the inferior new standards, for a refund.

Garry Kampen


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2 Responses to “Letter to the editor”

  1. elmalo on March 16th, 2010 12:32 pm

    Fully agree. The new signs are unreadable from a distance and completely worthless. Whoever was responsible should be assigned to a different job with less responsibility (and less pay).

  2. Sheryl Lamb on July 22nd, 2010 4:35 pm

    Letter to the Editor
    July 22, 2010

    From: Sheryl Lamb
    10908 Rainier Ave. So.
    Seattle, WA 98178
    Cell: 206-228-2922
    Evening: 206-228-2922

    Email: mblamb@comcast.net

    Summer in Seattle? We’re still waiting! And while we wait, it’s a good time to think about our favorite companions, keeping in mind that summer can be an unusually dangerous time for dogs, cats and other animals.

    A few important things to remember:
    • Dogs should only be walked when it’s cool outside. Concrete gets horribly hot, and can damage the soft pads on a dog’s feet. Early morning or late afternoon is the best times for exercise.
    • Save games of ‘catch’ for cooler days, and don’t over-exert your dog by playing catch – even in the water. The temperature of the water may be too cold too fast, and may cause severe breathing problems – even drowning.
    • Never, ever leave your dog in the car- not even in the shade! Dogs’ body temperature is 101.5 to 102.2 degrees; they don’t perspire. The interior of your car can rapidly rise to a blistering 120 degrees, even in the shade with the windows partially open, potentially causing, for a dog, kidney failure, brain damage and death.
    • If your dog becomes overheated, apply cool cloths to his/her head and neck, to bring his/her temperature down, and allow them to drink water. Don’t plunge them in an icy cold bath! Gradual is the key.
    • With severe signs of overheating, take your dog to a vet! A quick check can make a big difference in the recovery time for your dog.
    • If you see an animal in distress in a car, or a lost or abandoned animal call 9-1-1!!

    Finally, keep in mind that we humans don’t wear fur coats, and walk barefoot on hot summer days. Our dog companions don’t have a choice. Help them have a ‘cool’ summer!


    Sheryl Lamb

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