Sign twirler never hurt anyone, even in Scottsdale

While commuting to any destination in the City of Scottsdale, I see at least five people on the side of the roads advertising business deals through the use of signs.

They usually have headphones in and will be dancing and throwing the sign around as if they are acrobats. Sometimes, I am curious to check out whatever sale is going on, or I just drive right by and carry on with my day. I think it is a really good way for businesses to advertise “store closing deals” and to provide job opportunities to anyone who is in need.

Scottsdale has an ordinance in place to restrict these sign walkers to private property while the remainder cities in the valley do not. Scottsdale seems to claim that if they allow these sign walkers to move freely on public property, it will become a safety concern due to the risk of entering the street.

 

 

However, there are state laws that allow these sign walkers to spin their signs freely as long as they are not creating a traffic safety issue, and I for one have not seen one yet. Is it just me, or is Scottsdale just refusing to look like Phoenix?

This issue goes beyond traffic safety and is not only impacting businesses that make and distribute these signs for their consumers, but limits the jobs available to residents of Scottsdale. It is an economic issue. With less advertising, businesses cannot effectively market to those who would access their services. It’s something that would tighten the rope of regulation around businesses already struggling after a recession and housing market crash.

We all know that Scottsdale has its reputation of a higher class and better way of living, but these sign walkers do not dirty up the streets. Sign walkers are a good way to advertise — much better than the alternative of huge billboards covering Scottsdale Road.

Instead of Scottsdale forcing these sign walkers to only be restricted on private property, encourage a dress code like common employment policies enforce. Also, Scottsdale can easily find and encourage “posts” for these sign-walkers to operate on the public property so that it is out of the way of traffic or near traffic light poles so the drivers will not be distracted.

If Scottsdale does not change the restriction for these sign walkers, these small businesses can easily go under and the unemployment rate will continue to rise. It’s a huge mistake to over-regulate these businesses because of an aesthetic choice based in elitism.

Reach the columnist at ceacret@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @chelsieeacret