The Federal Highway Administration wants New York Street signs to use their indoor voices. Apparently, the ALL-CAPS lettering, which has been around for more than a hundred years, is harder to read, and Lord knows how many people may have been INJURED due to that? It’s going to take the Department of Transportation until 2018 to re-letter the signs with INITIAL CAPS ONLY — we mean, Initial Caps Only — and will cost $110 per sign for a total of $27.6 million for the 250,900 signs. OOF.
There’s a new font as well, Clearview, which was developed especially for street signs, and new reflective sheeting. FANCY!
This was more of a “recommendation” than a demand, per the Post:
The Highway Administration acknowledged that New York and other states “opposed the change, and suggested that the use of all upper-case letters remain an option,” noting that “while the mixed-case words might be easier to read, the amount of improvement in legibility did not justify the cost.”
But the cost is, apparently, justified, at least according to the Department of Transportation, which is going ahead starting in the Bronx — they say they’ll replace 11,000 by the end of the fiscal year, and that 8,000 signs are replaced annually anyway due to wear and tear, so this is no biggie. Even though, as the Daily News points out, some civilians are outraged. OUTRAGED.
“If it’s such a pressing safety issue, why won’t it be done until 2018? I may not even be driving by then,” said Paul Kelly, 66, a retired Manhattan resident.
Paul, we’re not even driving NOW!
But this all raises the most important question: What happens to the old street signs?
We’ve contacted the Department of Transportation for an answer and will let you know what they say. In the meantime, we call dibs on JOEY RAMONE PLACE!
Interestingly, the MTA already makes their signs using inital caps. Go, you.
[via New York Post, NYDN]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 30, 2010