The in basket: I was driving blithely along on Highway 3 passing the new interchange with Highway 303 the other day and happened to look up at the signs telling where the two upcoming off-ramps would take me.
On top of the sign indicating the way to southbound 303 was the familiar H that denotes a hospital. Atop the sign saying this way to Kitsap Mall Boulevard was a sign, also white on blue, of a symbol that looks like a propane tank.
How long has that been there, I Wondered, does it mean propane is available that way, and why is it there at all?
The out basket: It’s just another example of how highway signs can go unnoticed by drivers who are familiar with the area.
The sign has been there since 2000, says Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the Olympic Region, and denotes that propane is available at Clear Creek RV Center. It is augmented by the same kind of followup signs as the gas-food-lodging signs that are more prominently displayed alongside the highways, he said.
The next time through, I got off at Kitsap Mall Boulevard and, sure enough, there were matching blue signs on the off-ramp and on 303 that directed me to the RV center. I had never noticed any of the three.
There are similar signs all over the region, Steve said, and “businesses that apply for Motorist Information Signing and meet the criteria will be signed on the highway if space is available.”
When the business isn’t named, as on the generic propane signs, the business doesn’t have to pay the same yearly fee that restaurants, motels and such pay, said Gerald Nelson, head of the MIS program.