Gridlock Busters

I was waiting forever in heavy traffic on Norfolk Street to turn onto the Williamsburg Bridge when I noticed this sign. It seems pretty old (I’m sure that crossed circle was once red), and the more I thought about it, the more I decided that it has to be the most abstract official traffic sign in the city.

Gridlock Busters

Seriously, look at the freakin’ car, man. There’s no way in hell that would get approved nowadays! Is anyone else vaguely reminded of Ralph Steadman, famed illustrator of Hunter S. Thompson books?

Like, if you were to look a little further down in the above picture, that’s what the front of their car would look like?


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  1. Can’t be too old, the “Don’t block the box” campaign isn’t that old. Maybe 10 years at most. That was the end of the Giuliani administration from what I remember.

  2. Well it was the Red Shark and both Steadman and the good Doctor were self-medicating.

  3. The boxes started in 1981, and the “Don’t Block the Box” slogan started in 1984.

    “Ghostbusters” also hit theaters in 1984 and is the first thing I think of when I see “gridlock busters.” I’m guessing there was some inspiration there.

  4. I’m with @scrambles. I definitely remember the gridock campaign as being an ’80s thing.

  5. effingham bellweather

    The zebra striped boxes in the high traffic intersections were all painted as part of the “Don’t block the box” campaign.

  6. I remember staring at one of these signs when I was a kid eating at a restaurant w/ my dad on 57th St, back in 1992 or around then.