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Erroneous ‘19st St’ sign puts Tucson on the road to ridicule
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Erroneous ‘19st St’ sign puts Tucson on the road to ridicule

It runs from one side of Tucson to the other, but 19th Street is at its 19thiest where it crosses a quiet stretch of South Campbell Avenue east of South Kino Parkway. There’s a sign for it and everything.

Right at the corner, directly in front of an auto repair shop called Accurate Service, a misprinted city of Tucson street sign identifies the road as “19st St.”

City officials insist such errors are rare, and this one will soon be corrected. But that hasn’t stopped snarky online commenters from having some fun at the city’s expense.

A photo of the mistaken sign was the most popular post of the past month on the Reddit forum for Tucson. One user called it “just the Most 19th a street could be.” Another wrote, “If it was any more 19er it would be 38.”

The post touched off a discussion on Reddit about other local street sign screw-ups, including the time Wilmot Road was mangled in the most predictable way at several intersections.

The east-side road is regularly — and wrongly — referred to as “Wilmont,” a mistake that has appeared in the pages of this very newspaper a time or two.

It’s unclear when the error inevitably found its way onto the road itself, but a faint reminder of the blunder lives on at the southeast corner of North Wilmot and East Fifth Street, where the ghost of an N and a T still peaks out from both sides of the corrected sign.

City officials couldn’t say how often errors like this end up on street corners, but it probably doesn’t happen as frequently as it could.

A single shop at the city’s Thomas O. Price Service Center at East Ajo Way and South Park Avenue produces signs for every city department, including transportation, police, fire, water and Sun Tran, to name a few.

All that work is done by just two people, who use special vinyl plotters, latex printers and silk screening to produce a wide variety of new and replacement signs.

“All street names signs are manually typeset into our graphic program for fabrication,” said April Ormsby, Tucson’s lead sign fabricator, in an email.

And typos happen, no mater how careful you are. (Just ask any journalist, Twitter user or the president of the United States.)

As sign snafus go, Tucson’s could have been worse.

Reno, Nevada, rode a wave of public ridicule earlier this month when a missing “i” on several new signs briefly turned one of the community’s busiest roads into “Virgina Street.”

As the Reno Gazette-Journal reported on Nov. 1, city officials there decided to join in on the jokes.

Reno City Manager Sabra Newby tweeted, “Cost cutting measure, folks. That extra ‘i’ put us over budget.”

Reno City Councilman Devon Reese offered an i-less tweet of his own: “Keepng Reno grtty.”

Outside of Reddit, though, no one in Tucson has taken much notice of the minor gaffe on 19st Street.

The woman who answered the phone at Accurate Service said she didn’t know anything about the bad sign, and the owner of the auto shop declined to even talk about it.

The erroneous sign was still there Monday morning, but Ormsby said a new one has been ordered and should be put up before too long.

The mistake probably won’t bust the city’s budget. According to Ormsby, the price of a standard street sign is $23.

That cost estimate does not include labor or all this negative press covfefe.

RELATED GALLERY: The stories behind 12 Tucson-area street names

Contact reporter Henry Brean at or 520-573 4283. On Twitter: @RefriedBrean

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