San Pedro puts the gaffe in ‘Gaffey Streeet’ signs

The new decorative “Gaffey Streeet” signs in San Pedro’s downtown corridor are definitely getting attention — but for all the wrong reasons.

Did you catch the mistake? If you didn’t, you’re not the first person to miss the extra “e” in Street.

The typo has inspired both laughs and grumbling after a keen-eyed local spotted the error recently.


Wait, what does that sign say?

Resident Michael Foti, 47, drove past the new signs last week when he exited the 110 Freeway and motored onto Gaffey Street.

Foti stared at the round, blue-and-orange marker for a moment and thought, “There is something strange about those signs.” He couldn’t quite put his finger on what was wrong, however.

Then, on Tuesday, Foti got off the 110 Freeway and headed into town again. He looked up at the signs again and spotted the surplus letter.

Foti said the sign’s round shape makes it “pretty hard to see the error.”

He snapped a photograph of the sign and posted it on Facebook. That’s where friend Angela Romero, who runs the “That’s So Pedro” blog, saw the photograph and posted it to Instagram with the caption: “So is it the extra E that makes Gaffey a great street? Lol!” The rest is history.

Oops. How did this happen?

Looking to beautify the town’s main corridor as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Great Streets” neighborhood revitalization program, city officials have undertaken several projects, including the lighting of the Gaffey Street pedestrian bridge and completion of the Los Angeles Sister City Plaza park.

The 13 “Gaffey Street” signs were a piece of the city’s beautification plan.

About six people looked at the signs before they were sent off to a design firm and printed, said Branimir Kvartuc, communications director for Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose district includes San Pedro.

The signs hung on the town’s light poles for a week and a half until the mistake was spotted by Foti. About 60,000 motorists travel on Gaffey Street daily and probably drove past the misspelled sign, Kvartuc said.

After the error was spotted, the signs were removed Thursday and will be replaced with new lettering.

Kvartuc said errors happen all the time.

“This one happens to be public,” he said.

City of typos

The “Gaffey Street” blunder isn’t the first typo to blight the streets of Los Angeles.

In November 2014, a new sign for the Olympic Boulevard exit on the northbound 710 Freeway read “Olimpic.”

Caltrans misspelled Olympic Boulevard as "Olimpic" on an exit sign on the northbound 710 Freeway. It was later covered with a tarp and finally removed.
(Shelby Grad / Los Angeles Times)

Days later, a black tarp was thrown over the sign in an attempt to cover the misspelling. But it was too late; grammar lovers had already tweeted photos of the typo.

Then there was the infamous “1 Minute Parking” sign.

A parking sign on San Vicente Boulevard says "1 Minute Parking" instead of "1 Hour Parking." Times staffer Laura Davis originally posted this photo to Instagram, then it went hot on Reddit.
(Laura Davis / Los Angeles Times)

Images of the parking sign in Brentwood were widely shared on Reddit and eventually sent to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. City officials said the sign should have read one hour parking.

Errors and omission insurance

The new “Gaffey Street” signs won’t cost taxpayers a dime, Kvartuc said. The contracted design firm has errors and omission insurance to the cover the cost of the replacement.

The firm plans to overlay the misspelling with a piece of vinyl that has the correct spelling. The corrected signs will be placed along Gaffey Street in a week or two.

Some San Pedrans have suggested the town should embrace the error and leave the signs untouched. As a result, officials decided to leave just one uncorrected sign standing. It’s near the Gaffey Street Diner.

“It would be a place where you could come take your selfies for Instagram,” Kvartuc said.

Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA