Council Member Oscar Sardiñas, taking an idea from the civic group It Takes a Village, says he would like to see some sort of uplifting messaging on the public information sign at Key Biscayne’s entrance.
But it’s looking like he may face a Grinch-like obstacle in Manager Steve Williamson.
Sardiñas, speaking on a special edition of the Anti-Social podcast, said the group It Takes a Village KB came to Council, saying in the past the sign at the entrance of the Village was used to give positive notes to drivers
“I thought, you know, we have this nice new sign,” Sardiñas said. “What a nice thing it might be to give people something uplifting to look at.”
Sardiñas said he spoke to Village Manager Steve Williamson about the idea. Williamson, when contacted, said the sign would only be used for government business announcements, government run or special events information and safety messages.
Very bah humbug.
The Council member had hoped to have some of the messaging out for the holidays this year but on Friday night before the big Christmas weekend all the sign said was Welcome to the Village of Key Biscayne – which was kind of redundant considering the coral rock monument sign that precedes by about 10 yards.
The idea of positive messaging by the government has been tried elsewhere with great success. In New Jersey, it’s like a comic’s standup routine.
“Reckless drivers are worse than fruitcake,” said one sign by the New Jersey Department of transportation that during the holiday season ups its game.
“Only Rudolph should be lit, drive high, get DUI,” is another Jersey classic. Or “Don’t be a grinch, let them merge.”
Humor is also on tap for public signage in Calgary with signs like “Camp in the Rockies, not the left lane.
And a study conducted by a Virginia Tech’s cognitive research team found that state’s somewhat cheeky messages are better remembered by drivers. Examples included messages like “Santa’s coming, be a good driver,” or “Driving fast and furious? That’s Ludacris,” which drew a response from the rapper.
Virginia extended its road sign program onto social media, with messages that were rooted in emotional health. A Transportation Department presentation cited a well-known maxim of crisis communications, that “people need to know that you care before they care what you know.”
Sardiñas said he is not looking for the Village to turn its sign into high comedy, just some basic “Happy Holidays” would do. He feels that just putting some positivity out there in the world could blunt some of the negativity often seen on social media.
“We see what’s going on nationally, we see what’s going on around the world, if we’re not fighting the good fight, and keeping that positivity out there, then you fail to have balance, right?”
Sardiñas said. “We need to make sure people know that they’re not alone.”
He wanted to give credit where credit is due: It Takes A Village KB, which advocates for programs for the differently-abled. “It is a group that stands for kindness in schools,” Sardiñas said.