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Old 10-01-2010, 11:13 AM   #1
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The $27 million dollar font change

$27 million to change NYC signs from all-caps
By JEREMY OLSHAN

The Capital of the World is going lower-case.

Federal copy editors are demanding the city change its 250,900 street signs -- such as these for Perry Avenue in The Bronx -- from the all-caps style used for more than a century to ones that capitalize only the first letters.
Changing BROADWAY to Broadway will save lives, the Federal Highway Administration contends in its updated Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, citing improved readability.

At $110 per sign, it will also cost the state $27.6 million, city officials said.
"We have already started replacing the signs in The Bronx," city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told The Post. 'We will have 11,000 done by the end of this fiscal year, and the rest finished by 2018."

It appears e.e. cummings was right to eschew capital letters, federal officials explain.

Studies have shown that it is harder to read all-caps signs, and those extra milliseconds spent staring away from the road have been shown to increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly among older drivers, federal documents say.

The new regulations also require a change in font from the standard highway typeface to Clearview, which was specially developed for this purpose.
As a result, even numbered street signs will have to be replaced.
"Safety is this department's top priority," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said last year, in support of the new guidelines. "These new and updated standards will help make our nation's roads and bridges safer for drivers, construction workers and pedestrians alike."

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."
To compensate for those concerns, in 2003, the administration allowed for a 15-year phase-in period ending in 2018.

Although the city did not begin replacing the signs until earlier this year, Sadik-Khan said they will have no trouble meeting the deadline, as some 8,000 signs a year are replaced annually simply due to wear and tear.

The new diminutive signs, which will also feature new reflective sheeting, may also reflect a kinder, gentler New York, she said.

"On the Internet, writing in all caps means you are shouting," she said. "Our new signs can quiet down, as well."

Under new federal guidelines all New York City street signs will have to be made lower-case - NYPOST.com

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Old 10-01-2010, 11:25 AM   #2
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This is where I agree with the conservative theory, we need to stop the stupid spending. It's not the spending that's causing problems it's the stupid spending.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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I can't believe this! I actually find the first sign easier to read. With all of the other things that the money could go towards, this is just ridiculous!
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:04 PM   #4
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Not sure if the neighbourhood signs need changing in NYC, but the national highway switch to Clearview is a good idea and overdue. Actually, trying to remember an article or two I read a while back regarding Clearview, and I think it was designed for highway and high-speed legibility. Not specifically for slow city driving.

Still, considering the babyboomer plunge into fuzzy-sighted, horribly lonely old age, I feel much safer knowing they have a better shot at reading important information while going 90 on the highway.

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I can't believe this! I actually find the first sign easier to read. With all of the other things that the money could go towards, this is just ridiculous!
Yes, because Clearview is obviously designed to be used in pictures of street signs, viewed on the internet, as you sit stationary in front of your backlit computer monitor.

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Although the city did not begin replacing the signs until earlier this year, Sadik-Khan said they will have no trouble meeting the deadline, as some 8,000 signs a year are replaced annually simply due to wear and tear.
RTFA. They're going to be replacing large numbers of signs anyway due to regular maintainence.
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:35 PM   #5
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Yes, because Clearview is obviously designed to be used in pictures of street signs, viewed on the internet, as you sit stationary in front of your backlit computer monitor.
In general, since I am used to the all caps signs WHILE I AM DRIVING, I would find the change distracting at this point. Although your sarcasm is a bit rude!
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:54 PM   #6
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yes, sarcasm is never good...

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RTFA. They're going to be replacing large numbers of signs anyway due to regular maintainence.
they replace approximately 8,000 a year due to regular maintenance.

to replace every sign in new york city with this new sign would require them to replace 30,000+ signs per year... so it's not as if the two cancel each other out.

$880,000 per year for regular replacement

$3.3 million per year to change the signs to lowercase in a city where the vast majority of streets have numbers as their names.

the FHA should have just come to my apartment and pissed on my door.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:13 PM   #7
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I'm a big advocate for all caps. My handwriting is in all caps. I disapprove.
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Old 10-01-2010, 07:41 PM   #8
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I was upset to learn this thread didn't concern Elvis's controversial rebranding of Interference.com, after so many years of Arial bold.
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