Downtown's notorious “READ A FUCKING BOOK” street sign likely produced that message as the result of a hack, a spokeswoman for the company that owns it, Traffic Management Incorporated, told us. [Added: L.A. Weekly contributor Daina Beth Solomon, who posted a photo of the message on Twitter, says one other sign “down the street” also displayed the same statement.]
Unfortunately for all you Instagram users who wanted to snap a selfie with the LED-based “changeable message sign,” the wording has been removed, she said.
It wasn't clear exactly how the hacker (or hackers) changed the Bunker Hill–area sign's message:
The TMI spokeswoman said whoever did this would have had to physically break into the trailer-based sign. But she did acknowledge the possibility that it's Wi-Fi–enabled.
“It looks like it was hacked,” agreed Tina Backstrom of the L.A. Department of Transportation.
The sign — at Fourth and Hope streets — was in place to aid traffic flow at a construction-type project, the TMI official said. But she didn't know exactly what the project entailed.
Backstrom of the L.A. Department of Transportation said it wasn't clear what the sign was there for: It wasn't a city sign or project, she said, and dozens upon dozens of these signs appear throughout the city for construction, utility and even Caltrans projects.
The sign's owners must seek approval from the LADOT and file a traffic management plan, she said.
Lucky for City Hall, L.A. “doesn't own any changeable message signs,” Backstrom said.