Yesterday, I thought I was at the intersection of Broad Street and Front Street in downtown Columbus. But when I looked at the street signs, it appeared that I was instead at the corner of “Commit to be Fit” and “Top 7 Intelligent Community Way.” So, of course, I immediately began jogging while mentally performing differential calculus equations.
Does anyone else have this issue in their city or town? In Columbus, street signs are no longer reserved for providing the visitor with useful information about where they are. Instead, the signs often are used for civic boosterism or one-shot nods to a visiting convention or celebrity. So, because a group named Columbus one of the seven most intelligent cities in the world, we’ve got to make sure that anyone tromping around downtown is reminded of that fact. As for “Commit to be Fit”? Well, it’s a laudable goal. Now, how the heck to I get to Schmidt’s Sausage Haus?
I love Columbus, and I think it’s a wonderful place to live and work, but I don’t think we need to constantly be hyping our special little corner of the world. Putting up street signs that brag about our community intelligence seems awfully needy to me. It also is likely to provoke curses from motorists who are looking at the street signs to provide guidance on how to get to where they want to go.
Here’s an idea: why don’t we just let the street signs of Columbus do their job of telling people where they are, and leave it up to the visitors to our fair city to figure out on their own what a fine, brainy place Columbus is?