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Signs, or lack thereof, point to confusion

Who is responsible for Medford's street signs? Leaving the airport and going toward town, the sign for accessing Interstate 5 is so small and ill-placed it's very easy to miss. When exiting the Rogue Valley Mall onto McAndrews Road, there's no street sign at all.

Is it true that Medford doesn't care whether visitors get lost, or is the assumption these days that everyone has a GPS in their car?

Becca O., an out-of-towner

It's not that Medford doesn't care about you, Becca. It's just that you've stumbled on one of the greatest conspiracies at work in Medford. You see, Medford is the shopping hub for the region, so we came up with this idea that if you can't figure out how to leave town, you'll just end up staying longer and doing more shopping. Pretty smart, huh?

Kidding aside, the signs that you're talking about have confused even the natives. We know lots of people who live in the area who are baffled by the road system. Even a few of the mucky-mucks at Since You Asked headquarters have taken a wrong turn. (No, we are not going to name names here.)

We took your question directly to the Oregon Department of Transportation and to the city of Medford.

ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming decided to get a firsthand look at the sign directing motorists from the airport. "It is pretty visible," he concluded. "It meets our standards.

ODOT did some tweaking of signs after the interchange opened, but this is the first time it's received a complaint. "There may be room for improvement," he said.

He said ODOT can review how it places signs, but he pointed out it is incumbent on the driver to check directions, particularly if you're entering an unfamiliar town.

As to the lack of signs on McAndrews Road, our first thought is when does it become overkill to put up signs? Should you have one at the Medford Center or leaving a strip mall, for example?

Cory Crebbin, Medford's public works director, said you could theoretically turn either left or right off McAndrews to access the Interstate, so a sign might be more confusing. "Which way do you want to be directed to?" he said.

Crebbin said the city largely relies on ODOT for sign placement to the interstate.

E-mail your questions to youasked@mailtribune.com.