PHOENIX — There’s a clear pattern in what messages the state Department of Transportation is — and more to the point, isn’t — willing to use on its freeway signs.
Don’t tick off the snowbirds.
In the last week, the agency chose 20 finalists from more than 7,000 suggestions solicited from Arizona motorists (6,700 once duplicates were eliminated) for what to post on the three-line electronic signs above multiple stretches of the state’s freeways.
All have the common theme of promoting safe driving, from urging seat-belt use to discouraging text-ing.
The finalists will be chosen through online voting.
But there’ll be no choice for messages about snowbirds, who flock to, and sometimes clog, Arizona roads.
“Welcome snowbirds / Slow down / Live to fly home” suggested Al Moll, working, as did all submitters, within the constraints of three lines of no more than 18 characters each.
Michaela Cheatham’s message would greet them with: “Dear snowbirds / Get the flock out / of the fast lane.”
“Hey snowbirds / Why you lookin’ / up here?” proposed Timothy Wood.
Other proposals were meant for drivers here year-round, who have to deal with folks sometimes confused by Arizona freeways.
“A friendly word / Watch out for / that snowbird,” suggested Tracy DeSpain.
Or John Wilson’s suggestion: “Snowbirds R crazy / So buckle up / for your safety.”
ADOT staffers also apparently did not take to heart several suggestions to keep the signs blank of any extraneous messages, because they can be distracting.