Good Question

Sep 6, 2012 2:45 AM by John Reger

GQ: Why do the signs to Pismo Beach have conflicting information?

We've all seen those highway signs telling us how far away a city is. But there are a couple of local ones that get some quizzical looks. That made some people wonder: What's the deal on some Pismo Beach highway signs? Good question.
Picture yourself heading north on Highway 101 when you see the green sign for Pismo Beach saying it's 2 miles ahead. Then just a second or two later, you see another sign saying you're crossing into Pismo Beach from Arroyo Grande. The first sign says: Pismo Beach 2 Miles; then 50 yards farther the second sign says: Pismo Beach City Limit. How is it decided where a city sign goes?

Cal Trans says it follows a uniform standard when placing the signs. The city limit sign is easy. It's placed as close as possible to a city's boundary. So Pismo's city limit sign is just north of the Oak Park Boulevard overpass as you leave Arroyo Grande. The 2-mile sign is meant to tell drivers how far they are from a city's civic center. "That could be city hall," says Jim Shivers of Cal Trans. "That could be the post office or collectively the place where people go to their everyday business."

We checked the Post Office at 100 Crest Drive which is a 1.1 mile drive from the sign. But it doesn't seem anyone considers that the center of Pismo.

Next stop: Pismo Beach City Hall at 760 Mattie Road. It's right above the highway, a five and a half mile drive from the sign. It's hard to call this the center of civic activity.

Cal Trans decided in this case that the sign should lead motorists to the city core, the central business district. That would be downtown Pismo, an area that is right at two miles from the sign. At the corner of Pomeroy and Dolliver you've got bars, restaurants, hotels, T-shirt shops, all kinds of tourist attractions, and at the end of the street, the Pismo Pier.

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