Signs of the times: California city warns pedestrians not to update Facebook from crosswalk

A northern California city is hoping humor can help get pedestrians and drivers to obey the rules of the road.

"Heads Up! Cross the Street, then Update Facebook,” reads one of the new traffic signs in Hayward, a San Francisco suburb with a population of about 150,000.

“35 – it’s a speed limit, not a suggestion,” warns another.

In January, Hayward Boulevard, a major thoroughfare known for zooming cars, became speckled with such signs in the city's attempt to grab the attention of drivers and pedestrians. The wording of the quirky signs is the brainchild of city spokesman Frank Holland.

"People are excited that we’re being concerned."

— Frank Holland, spokesman for city of Hayward, Calif.

“The same messages always blend into the background,” said Holland. “But if we can juxtapose the medium with an unconventional message, then maybe we can get people to pay attention.”

In a recent survey, speeding was listed as residents’ top concern. While the City Council has been trying to come up with ways to get drivers to slow down, such as speed bumps and roundabouts, those public works are more expensive and time consuming than erecting the signs, which cost $205 a piece, according to Inside the Bay Area.

According to Holland, the response to the signs has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People are excited. We’re being responsive and people have used words like "innovative," "creative," "resourceful.," You don’t often hear words like that linked to civil institutions, so that’s been great,” Holland said.

Not everybody, however, finds the humorous approach appealing.

“I just thought it was really sarcastic. I didn't think it was really appropriate,” said Natalie Montano, a Hayward resident, told Fox KTVU.

Despite a few negative responses, the signs seem to be getting the intended reaction. Resident Wendy DeVetter told Inside the Bay Area that the signs were cause for pause more than once while driving with her daughter, but wonders how long the signs will have an effect on drivers.

“Once the people who live in the hills see them, they will probably just start ignoring them,” she said.'s Mary Kekatos contributed to this report