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Hey, Matt:

Have you noticed how many signs there are along the interstates these days? Temporaries, such as Miramar's Armed Forces Day Celebration sign beside 15, and permanents, such as Barona Casino's massive action board beside 805, just south of the merger with 5. What happened to Ladybird Johnson's anti-billboard laws?

-- Mary Broad, John Mann & Associates

Hi, Matt:

When I moved to Encinitas 15 years ago, the sign entering Encinitas on the northbound side of Interstate 5 stated that the population was 56,000. Fifteen years later the same sign remains, yet I know at least 56,000 more people have moved into my neighborhood alone in that time! I was wondering who is responsible to change those signs...and what are they waiting for?

-- L. Mika, the net

We scanned the Caltrans to-do list: build freeway, build another freeway, widen freeways already built, repave freeways...nope, don't see "Replace Encinitas Sign." They'll get to it when they can. Caltrans puts up the population signs. When they get new census figures, they file them away until sign replacement comes up on the priority list. According to the 2000 census, about 6000 people have moved in next door to you since 1990.

Lady Bird Johnson never met a billboard she didn't hate, but there were limits to her influence. Caltrans controls what goes up in the freeway right-of-way and 660 feet beyond that; and they can grant exceptions to the law -- SDSU's blinking behemoth, f'rinstance. But on adjacent private property, all bets are off. The Barona sign and the Miramar Air Show sign aren't on state-controlled land. And of course there are the companies that try to skirt sign bans by parking their trucks on overpasses.

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