Out of compliance signs to be addressed in Gonzales

The Gonzales Inquirer

By GREG LITTLE/publisher@gonzalesinquirer.com

It is a fact many road signs in Gonzales are out of compliance.

This was pointed out to local officials recently by Anthony N. Schneider, a San Antonio resident who travels extensively and has made it his life’s mission to correct these problems.


“If we are in the wrong, we need to right it and that’s what we are going to do,” said Gonzales Police Chief Tim Crow.

Schneider sent several emails to the city and to The Gonzales Inquirer, outlining what he says are violations of the state’s sign laws. Many of the violations are in school zones.

Schneider said in an email to Crow that he visited the city in June of last year and made a formal complaint to the city administration. However, Crow said city officials have no record the complaint was ever filed.

In that same email to Crow, Schneider gave several examples of signs which are not in compliance with state statutes.

He pointed out issues like night-time reflectivity which had faded as well as the height of some signs, which he said are out of violation.

“We are going to put a priority on schools zones and get them into compliance,” said Crow.

Crow admitted many of the city’s signs are out of compliance. He said many have been in place since well before he came to Gonzales.

“Obviously, there are many of ours which are well out of compliance,” said Crow. “They have been that way for many years.”

One of the biggest factors is cost, he said. Crow said he was planning to meet with the street department as well as school officials about getting the signs into compliance.

Crow also said he would be meeting with state officials, who have responsibility for signs on the state roadways.

“Some of this is not going to be cheap,” said Crow.

Crow said he had “no idea” how many signs were out of compliance but said it was fair to say there were “dozens.”

Schneider specifically pointed out the new cell phone warning signs in the school zones as being out of compliance. Those were installed over the summer when the state approved the banning of cell phone use in school zones.

According to state law, those signs have to be at least seven feet off the ground. Many in Gonzales are nowhere near that high.

Crow said city ordinances do require the city to comply with the state guidelines on signs.

“We’ll follow the state guidelines, making sure we are in compliance,” said Crow.

Crow said he needed to meet with the local and state officials to get a good understanding of exactly what the guidelines are in order to get the job done properly.

“The strategy is to address the school zones first,” said Crow. “To repair, replace and bring into compliance those signs that do not meet regulations.”

Crow said establishing a specific time frame is difficult until all of the information is compiled.

“At this point in time, it would be irresponsible for me to address a time line when I haven’t even met with the street department,” said Crow last week. “We will address this situation as rapidly as we can.”

Schneider also sent an email to Marla Jasek, director of transportation for the Texas Department of Transportation’s Yoakum District. In his email, he outlined several problems with signs in the school zones on state rights-of-way.

In her response, Jasek said “the school signs you photographed do need to be upgraded and plans to do so are in the works.”

Jasek pointed out the new law prohibiting cell phones in school zones was passed “shortly before” the beginning of the current school year.

“This did not allow much time for the purchase of the new signs or longer posts,” wrote Jasek.

She said state officials decided to go ahead and mount the signs lower than the required distance in order to get them up in time for the start of the school year.

“As you can imagine, the school administrators were anxious to have the signs installed,” said Jasek in the email to Schneider.

She did say that TxDOT officials are “in the process” of purchasing longer aluminum posts for the signs in Gonzales and the 11 counties in the Yoakum district so the minimum height requirements can be met.

She said because of the current demand for the posts, the process is “taking longer than normal.”

Jasek told Schneider they are hoping to have the piping shipped within the next two weeks and then plan to begin installing the new signage.