godzilla sign fred werner
Photo: Fred Werner

Drivers and pedestrians on Panoramic Way in Berkeley did a double take a few days ago when a large mobile LED sign, usually reserved for imparting traffic alerts, instead informed them: “Godzilla rampant in SF.”

Fred Werner spotted the sign and shared a photograph of it with Berkeleyside. “Commuters beware!” he wrote. “This warning sign on Panoramic Way heralds danger across the Bay today.”

We posted the pic on our Facebook page on Sept. 11 where it found an appreciative audience. “Love it. Berkeley ROCKS,” wrote Fred Weissman. “Reference to Big Soda?” cracked David Weisz.

We made some inquiries as to how the mobile sign might have been hacked, but the case remains a mystery.

Werner said the original sign read: “Panoramic Way closed 9/16-9/17, 9am-12pm, 1-4pm.”

That might have been the end of the story, except that a few days later, after the sign had been restored to its legitimate message, it was switched out once more.

Photo: Fred Werner
Photo: Fred Werner

This time it read: “For those about to rock we salut you” (sic). “The errant traffic sign on Panoramic Way changed its tune, perhaps honoring those battling Godzilla?” reported Werner. Or a reference to people on their way to the nearby Greek Theatre for a concert, perhaps?

We shall probably never know.

Meanwhile, Werner reminded us that there was a similar hacking of road construction signs in San Francisco last spring, with messages referring to Godzilla when the eponymous movie came out.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...