Beginning in 2007, Pierce County started cracking down on illegal signs in public rights of way. The result: the county collected 16,149 signs in 2007-08.
Fed up with roadside clutter, many residents of unincorporated Pierce County loved it. But the crackdown ended last August amid questions about how to enforce the law and complaints that the crackdown was hurting an already slumping real estate industry.
But I was curious: where were the worst spots in Pierce County for illegal signs? So I recently requested data from the county public works department on the signs it collected during the crackdown.
The database doesn’t include information on all of the signs the department collected. Workers didn’t enter information on thousands of signs that were flimsy or in poor condition – like cardboard "yard sale" signs. But I did get information on nearly 8,800 signs collected from July 2007 through August 2008, roughly the period of the crackdown – more than half of the signs collected.
From that data, I’ve compiled a list of 10 intersections where the most signs were collected. You can see it below.
|1. 176th St E @ 78th Ave E||61|
|2. 160th/Brookdale Rd E @ Canyon Rd||58|
|3. 214th Ave E @ South Prairie Rd E||54|
|4. Sumner Buckley Hwy E @ 214th Ave E||53|
|5. Sehmel Dr NW @ Burnham Dr NW||41|
|6. Military Rd @ Canyon Rd||39|
|7. 86th Ave E @ 128th St E||36|
|8. Sumner Buckley Hwy E @ 198th Ave E||32|
|9. 218th Ave E @ 64th St E||31|
|10. 152nd St E @ Meridian Ave||29|
Obviously, with more than half the sign collected not accounted for, this isn’t a definitive "worst intersection" list. But I’ll bet this list won’t be a surprise to many county residents.
For what it’s worth, county workers didn’t collect these signs during a single visit. The numbers are the total signs collected over numerous visits during the crackdown. For example, they collected 61 signs at 176th and 78th over 14 visits. They collected as many as 16 signs in a day and as few as one during those visits.
I’m working on an article about sign enforcement that’s scheduled to run in the paper this Sunday. I’ll post some other interesting tidbits in coming days. Coming Friday: a Google map showing the number of illegal signs collected at 50 intersections in unincorporated Pierce County.