Slow (part 1)

Everywhere there are signs whispering their suggestions. Go slow. I’m usually going slow. I try not to rush. Reminders help. Variations on the theme keep this important and ubiquitous message interesting. It serves the one or two children still allowed to play outside. Slow hysteria rages. You can’t drive a hundred yards without seeing a sign. SLOW is burned into my driving brain. These dire warnings, whether store bought, homemade, mass produced or one of the bad puns do their due diligence getting out the word. Accidents happen in a flash, out of nowhere. Speed decreases reaction time. Slow is the safe bet, but people don’t always care. I’m the wrong audience and yet I am the audience. People whizz by, unwilling to participate in this reading while driving form of multitasking that I enjoy. People also don’t like being told what to do. They aren’t slowing down, missing the chance to embrace the word as a lifestyle choice. It’s time for people to take their feet off the gas a tiny bit, inhale deeply and get slow.

The Store Bought Signs

In the Crestwood neighborhood, this plastic kid sign holder, gets his toothy grin from a picket fence. It’s not distracting enough to miss the message. His grimace might be from the thought of a child getting run over. On average, I’d guess, people with kids drive a few miles per hour slower when they drive where their kids live. I’ll have the research department look into this as soon as they respond to my memorandum.

Drive like your pets live here, yes, I get it. Slow down for pets. If your pets are in the street I’ll want to be going slow enough to slam on the brakes. I don’t want a roll over crash ending in rolling over someone’s pet. This sign was posted nice and low at pet perspective. We all know that pets don’t usually drive but it never hurts to warn them too.

The theme continues. Cars are getting in the way of kid’s and pet’s fun. This reminder in West Portland Park, shows a child, helmeted for safety, chasing after an off leash dog. People driving fast, after blazing past this sign, are risking creating a scene straight out of Fast and Furious 6.

Billboards & Church Signs

This billboard on Barbur Boulevard in SW made the slow message hard to miss. It also seemed to be shouting at me. A nice enough guy is offering a common sense message. Don’t speed in construction zones. You might run over the poor guy in this billboard. I could imagine his hard hat and slow sign flying as he tumbles along the highway. This all depends on whether this is an actual construction worker and not an actor/regular guy billboard model.

I was elated to see a church marque getting in on the slow act. This gentle reminder manages to work in two buzzwords, especially one required for all church marque postings. I don’t quite understand the message. Are we supposed to walk by slow enough to allow Jesus to jump on our backs to catch a ride.?

The Semi-Official

The semi-official category fits the signs that make a statement through placement and their mimicry of actual traffic signs. I’m no expert but details like the use of metal and certain colors make these signs seem real even as I remain skeptical because anyone can buy and display a sign. Attaching this kind of sign to a street sign may have it’s challenges so it seems likely that some of these are official traffic department displays. Ultimately, never forget, it’s about the safety of the kids. They are playing, keep them safe, don’t ruin their fun with your speediness.

Because, well, it’s not a real road out here in West Portland Park. It’s mostly a dusty surface when it isn’t a river of mud.

I guess if you consider forced marches play then this sign is accurate. Heading through this area of West Portland Park, you won’t find masses of children parading in the streets or dogs chasing their tails. Streets are mostly frolic free zones these days. Outside play has been lost to the high tech realm. Driving slow makes car travel a kind of safari where you might have the rare experience of spotting a child in the “wild.”

There’s something that seems official about a sign framed in wood and planted in the ground. The slow word in all caps makes the message serious. Slow is bold, manners are included and once again it sticks up for children and animals. Be slow so the young ones and their pets can prosper.

This sign seems to serve as a beacon in the Kenton neighborhood. I was enthralled as I caught sight of it while driving down the street. The official slow sign is in such a humorous location it practically begs to be heeded. It had me slowing then stopping to get a photo.

The Home Made

I’m saving my favorite category for last. I only wish I’d spotted more home made signs. I need the creativity that inspires people to post their form of protest even if it’s only against people going above the speed limit. The stenciled snail, seen in the Crestwood neighborhood, points out that slow animals symbolize how people should go through life, especially on the roadways. Snails want to cross at their own pace hoping cars let them pass. The sign started to make sense. I realized it’s not really marking a snail crossing but more like a place where cars should slow down, or stop to allow anyone to cross the street.

This placard, near the snail sign, explains what may be at issue here. People seem to want to cross the street in this area. This home made has official elements like referring to the state ordinance, providing the numbers so anyone can look it up. This has to be a spot crying out for a crosswalk. The bumper sticker, included on the sign, breaks out a pun about braking. Let’s face it, cars should give people a break and slam on the brakes whenever they’re around. This slow movement could save a life or two. Besides, slow is cool, slow is safer and slow is probably something even our pets would prefer if they could conceptualize it.


We’ll be back with part two where we’ll talk about bad pun slow signs, roadside slow signs, animal slow signs and hopefully a quick, not slow, quote from artist Mike Bennett.

More and cooler slow signs:

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