Drive through any neighborhood in San Jose and there it is, a blight every bit as unsightly as graffiti: Nailed to street trees, duct taped to signal poles, lamp posts and traffic control devices, it is the ubiquitous lost pet, garage/yard sale sign or small business advertisement, many of which are left up for weeks if not months.
There is nothing wrong with searching for Fluffy, holding a garage sale or advertising your business. Garage sales provides a host of benefits — recycling items that might have ended up in landfills, giving sellers a chance to clean out their homes and earn a little extra money, and buyers the opportunity to find that unique item they just have to have. The social interaction is fun to listen to, as people barter one minute and discuss the latest neighborhood news the next.
However, what many people do not know is, it's actually illegal to post signs, for sales or anything else, on public property. This includes intersection signal poles, lampposts, traffic control signs and street trees as well as staking signs into ground.
SJMC 23.04.810 (A) Unless otherwise expressly allowed in this part, no one may post public right-of-way signs except the city.
Posting the signs not only violates city ordinances governing sign posting, but sometimes violates state laws governing traffic safety, since some postings endanger drivers and pedestrians.
Paper or cardboard signs are often attached with wads of tape that destroy painted poles when the tape is removed, other times signs are nailed into street trees or wired to signal poles, sometimes blocking pedestrian crossing buttons.
If you are having an event, post it on NextDoor, the BVNA Neighborhood group, or on Craigslist or find other ways to get the word out; if you want to clean up your neighborhood, feel free to remove any signs you do see in the public right of way, and remember if you wish, you can turn those scofflaws in to code enforcement at 408-535-7770.