Observing Los Angeles

Freeway signs for colleges: out of control

loyola-fwy-sign.jpgGood Bob Pool story in the Times: the busiest stretch of freeway for signs that, in theory, help drivers find their way to a nearby college is now the 101 in the west Valley. The latest institution to get a sign is Tarzana's Hypnosis Motivation Institute, "which has classrooms on the third floor of a Ventura Boulevard office building and offers a one-year training program." Its sign joins those of Columbia College Hollywood, Phoenix University and the Hughes Education and Career Center, as well as Cal State Northridge, Pierce College, Cal Lutheran and the San Fernando Valley College of Law.

In a class catalog, it probably would be listed as "College Promotion 101."...

In all, about 35 Los Angeles-area colleges each have four freeway directional signs. It's easy to see why they want them: "There's a sense of pride in having a freeway sign," said Alan L. Gansberg, dean of Tarzana's Columbia College Hollywood. "It legitimizes you."

Caltrans engineers say their rules allow public and private post-secondary schools — both nonprofit and for-profit — to apply for freeway directional signs.

To qualify, campuses generally must have at least 1,000 full- or part-time students, said Maria Raptis, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation. Schools pay a $7,500 fee to cover the 13-foot-by-51/2-foot signs' manufacture and installation. Caltrans pays for ongoing maintenance.

So they have nothing to do with directions. It's just state-sanctioned PR, and the less known you are, the more valuable it is.

I've commented before, here and on KCRW, about the proliferation of freeway signage. I may be feeling another one coming on.

Loyola sign: LA Observed

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