"If this be treason make the most of it." -- Patrick Henry
1. Find Cardboard.
2. Paint it white.
3. Paint your message.
4. Stick it up with duct tape & bungee cords.
Anything you can see while driving is a place you can put a sign. The more difficult it is to reach, the longer it'll stay up. Tens, even hundreds of thousands of people can drive by a sign before one of them takes so much as five minutes to go take it down. Apart from actual prisoners, you won't find a more captive audience than people in their cars.
Like anything else, free speech is fun until someone gets hurt. Signs should be placed on the inside of fencing, not suspended directly over traffic. So long as your letters are at least six inches tall, they'll be legible through the fencing.
To get really big letters, I use an overhead projector. I print the text on a transparency from my computer, shine it on the cardboard (painted white) and trace the letters with a marking pen. Then I lay it flat and fill in the letters with cheap enamel and a small foam brush. But I don't play up the overhead projector method much because I don't want people thinking: "Once I get my hands on one of those projectors, by golly, then I'll do it!" The most important sign to put up is the first one -- it almost doesn't matter what it says or how it looks, just so long as it gets done. Soon.
Is it legal? Yes and No
Yes! Free political speech is a fundamental right under the First Amendment. It is your right as a citizen to display non-commercial signs and banners, with some exceptions. Rules regarding signposting along roadways vary from place to place. So, call your local department of transportation to find out more. Say you'd like to put up some American flags and "Support the Troops" signs... Don't feel bad if that's not precisely what you intend to put up: this is America, and the rules apply equally to all points of view.
No! Again, the rules vary from state to state, but here in California, your right to political self-expression ends exactly 600 feet from the Interstate, and failure to comply may run afoul of the law notwithstanding that nothing in the Streets & Highways Code or Outdoor Advertising Act expressly bars political expression. Although it remains unresolved whether they are constitutional, some local laws may be used to keep you from speaking out on the roadways.
The stated reason for limiting your right to political expression is that such signs present a safety hazard due to their being a "visual distraction" to drivers, which is perfectly reasonable just as soon as they move every damn billboard, commercial sign, and jumbo-tron screen 600 feet from the freeway as well. So long as my local car dealer's allowed to show commercials on a thousand square foot TV right next to the 405, you can call my piece of cardboard a visual distraction, but I'm not buying it.
Here at Freewayblogger, we feel that free speech is meaningless unless it extends to everybody: not just to those who can afford it. When the founders of this nation said that everyone was entitled to freely express their political opinions, they didn't mean we could hammer up a sign out in the woods somewhere, they meant we could hammer it up right in the middle of the town square. Why? Because that's where all the people were.
With this in mind, we feel it is our God-given and constitutionally-granted right to post our messages on the interstates, freeways, or wherever else we think people will read them and we're willing to fight for this right all the way to the Supreme Court.
But you'll have to catch us first.
How long do they stay up?
I've had some signs stay up for minutes, others for months, depending largely on what they say and where I put them. In general, large ones come down fast, smaller ones not so fast. I feature larger signs on the web site because they look cooler, but by far the majority of, and I believe the most effective, signs I post are small reminders along the peripheries of the freeway such as "The War is a Lie." or "Osama Bin Forgotten." As long as the letters are at least eight or nine inches tall, people will be able to read them just fine. Unlike overpasses, signs posted along the peripheries of the freeway are easier and more discreet to post, and can stay up for days.
Does it do any good?
I don't know. I started doing this because I got tired of listening to the political debate in my country being framed by a bunch of pompous windbags and megalomaniac clowns on my radio and TV. I started doing it because I didn't have a voice in that debate, and to the extent I did, that voice was filtered through corporate editors. In that sense it has changed at least one person's mind: mine. Signposting has taught me that I do have a voice, and more important, so do you.