U-Down Told to Tone Down - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

U-Down Told to Tone Down

Braden Smith takes his son Dallas to get some U Down stickers.  He says those stickers won't go anywhere near traffic signs. Braden Smith takes his son Dallas to get some U Down stickers. He says those stickers won't go anywhere near traffic signs.

by Minna Sugimoto

KAILUA (KHNL) -- The battle between the state Department of Transportation and a little shop in Kailua is heating up. The dispute is over those U-Down stickers that have been showing up on freeway and street signs. Transportation officials are now seeking a criminal investigation.

Eleven-year-old Dallas just picked up a bunch of U-Down stickers. But unlike the ones popping up on road signs, his stickers will end up on his bedroom door.

"I told him that they don't go anywhere except in your room, maybe on your binder if you want to take them to school, if it's possible," Braden Smith, Dallas' father, said. "But don't put them on any public places or spaces."

Not everyone is getting that message. Now the U-Down store in Kailua is catching heat. The state Department of Transportation says the company's website encourages people to deface public property.

"The concern is not only vandalism," Scott Ishikawa, state Department of Transportation, said. "But we're concerned that these, this website is putting people in danger 'cause you're asking folks to climb 30 foot high street signs."

And now road crews have found an altered sign on Waialae Avenue. The sign should read U-Turn ahead, not U-Down.

"When you alter a traffic safety sign, that's a much more serious violation than just, you know, everyday vandalism," Ishikawa said.

Transportation officials sent the owners of the store a letter, saying they're referring the matter to the Attorney General's office for criminal investigation.

"I think that it should be looked into, I mean, as long as somebody is defacing something or, like I said, it's almost like graffiti," Smith said.

The store's Justin McCoy says, "We don't feel like we did anything wrong. We've actually taken some stickers down ourselves. The last thing we want is for somebody to get hurt."

The company says it's disabling its website.

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