This Way to the Egress

Whenever I see this sign, I always think of the story about P.T. Barnum trying to get his visitors out of an exhibit so that new customers could come in. He eventually put up a sign saying “This way to the egress,” figuring most people wouldn’t know the word just meant “exit.” According to the legend, it worked.

Freeway sign: Egress

Now, given that every other freeway sign I’ve seen says “exit,” I have to wonder why they phrased this one the way they did. My best guess is that it’s because it’s marking an exit from the carpool lane (it’s on the Santa Ana Freeway, heading north between the 55 and 22) instead of an exit to surface streets or directly to another freeway—but even that doesn’t make sense, because every place where you’re allowed to leave a carpool lane is marked as “exit!”

One thought on “This Way to the Egress

  1. Kelson Post author

    In an interesting bit of timing, this picture got some attention from a reddit discussion right before I drove down to Orange County for an afternoon. On the trip back, I remembered to look for the sign to see if it was still there. While the *sign* is still there, it’s boring now, and only shows the diamond symbol for the carpool lane and “5 NORTH.”

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