Transportation Policy

ALL-CAP Street Signs MUST DIE!

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Because there is simply nothing left to talk about or fix or STFU about, it's come to this:

The federal government is requiring communities around the USA to change street name signs from all capital letters to a combination of capital and lowercase letters. The government says that makes them easier to read. Cash-starved localities also will have to dig deep for new, more reflective traffic signs to make them easier to see at night, especially by older drivers….

Under Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations, communities have until 2015 to improve the nighttime visibility of roadside signs — such as stop, yield and railroad crossing signs. The issue is how well a sign redirects light from an automobile's headlights back toward the vehicle. Signs that fail to meet minimum standards must be replaced. Communities will be allowed to change the street name signs as they wear out.

The feds are, as is their wont, not giving any money to comply with this mandate. More, including multiple gripes from city managers, here.

Let's not even get started on the topic of traffic anarchy, which would probably save money on signs while reducing accidents and snarls.

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  1. I DISAGREE. ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ARE FAR EASIER TO SEE AND PROJECT THE NECESSARY LOUDNESS AND AUTHORITY. WHY STATE ‘SIDEWALK ENDS’ WHEN YOU CAN SCREAM IT!

    1. GOOD THING INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY HAPPENS ONLY TWICE A YEAR.

  2. It’s a good thing they have that sidewalk ends sign right there because if I was a blind man walking alone I might not notice that the concrete ends right there, and keep on walking.

  3. THIS IS WHAT REGULATORS DUE WHEN THEY HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO REGULATE. CREATE MORE SILLY REGULATIONS. THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THIS IS TO FIRE THE MOTHERF&^%ERS AND STRIP THEM OF THIER PENSIONS.

    1. Joke gets old after one minute.

      1. No, after 0.05 seconds. I clocked it.

  4. The feds are, as is their wont, not giving any money to comply with this mandate.

    And what’s the punishment for failing to comply with the decree? Normally things like this mean they withdraw the federal teat, but since they’re not offering it up in the first place…

    1. I assume this is a condition of receiving federal highway funds. I’m not sure how much goes directly to municipalities rather than the states, though.

      1. Dude, it’s not that hard. You just have to be familiar with the FHWA’s Highway Statistics series, updated annually, particularly Table HF-10.

        The short answer: Municipalities don’t get that much directly from the Feds, though they get a substantial amount from the states, that in turn get a substantial amount from the Feds.

    2. What does the Commerce Clause say about Italics?

      1. As long as they never mandate the use of Comic Sans MS

        1. It would be interesting to see the Constitution written in WingDings.

          Oh wait, I think Justices Breyer, Souter and Stevens pretty much have that covered.

  5. Think of how many lives are touched by improved street signs!

    Also, DADT, Tony. Fuck you.

    /yes, I know he’s not even here yet

  6. This thread has some potential. Thanks, The Jacket!

    DO NOT CHANGE LANES ON BRIDGE

    HUURRR DURRR!

    1. URKOBOLD AND HIS MINIONS WILL NOT BE HAPPY WITH THIS EDICT.

  7. STEVE SMITH HATE NEW RULE!! STEVE SMITH LOVE ALL CAPS!! STEVE SMITH REQUIRE RAPING OF STUPID REGULATORS!! ARGH!!!!

  8. I SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS PERFECTLY REASONABLE REQUIREMENT.

  9. After the sign companies get their graft, the feds will turn around and demand that the signs be changed to all caps, because they’ll have some new report saying THAT is actually easier to notice and read.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    1. No, the new-new regulations will be changed so that the first letter will be lower case and the other letters upper case, so that drivers actually pay attention to them. sTOP, yIELD, nO pASSING, eTC.

      1. I’d prefer street signs read like a 13 year old’s AOL name: xxxzt0Pxxx, zzzY13Ldzzz, and so on

        1. Hey, I used to live at that intersection in Valletta. What’s wrong with that is a screen name?

    2. No, after they realize people are dying in horrible, fiery accidents because they can’t distinguish capital I from lower-case L, they’ll require all signs to be redone with an official typeface. The typeface will cost them 5 million to develop and be made available only through about three vendors.

      1. And S will be indistinguishable from 5.

      2. That’s what serifs are for.

        1. l didn’t understand your point at all, Ted 5.

        1. Too funny. Actually, it’s kind of a cool font.

    3. You don’t seem to have read the part where it said the street signs don’t have to be decapitalized until they would need to be replaced anyway.

      I seriously doubt they’re going to change their mind in the future and mandate dull STOP signs and railroad crossing signs, as required for your conspiracy theory to be plausible.

      1. That still helps the sign makers, since I’m sure there is a huge stockpile of replacement “MAPLE ST” signs that now have to be junked.

        1. Woo hoo! Nothing like broken windows to stimulate the economy!

        2. I seriously doubt that most towns have any replacement street signs stockpiled.

  10. You know I wanted it.

  11. I don’t know what we’re yelling about.

    1. I LOVE LAMP.

  12. nick
    is this just on federally funded state highways or is it for my culdesac which has no federal ties whatsoever? i can see a rash of street signs disappearing into teenagers bedrooms soon.

    1. NYC is replacing all of it’s street signs to comply. 27.5 Million dollars worth.

      1. No worries. Bloomberg carries that much around in his loafers. He’ll be footing the bill, won’t he?

    2. Way to compensate for the new law ola. Your complete lack of capitalized letters show me how infuriating all-lowercase can be. Now I will drive you off of a bridge!

    3. Well, I know that my little cul-de-sac got brand-new street signs because of some mandate from outside the community. We were all very upset about it. Next thing you know people will be training Germans on how to pronounce “squirrel”

  13. The letters on street signs should be randomly cApiTaliZed and all in the MS comic sans font.

    1. No! No! Old English, all caps!

      1. That’d be “Olde English” there, laddy.

  14. Finally, some real stimulus!!!!!!

  15. Someone has to smash the windows to get our moribund economy moving. The cute part is having to hire professional highway engineers so you make work coming and going.

    HEY, THOSE WINDOWS ARE DIRTY!!!
    SMASHY-SMASHY!

  16. THIS IS WHY WE NEED A GOVERNMENT. WHO ELSE WOULD WORRY ABOUT STUFF LIKE THIS WHEN THE LOWER DECKS ARE RAPIDLY FILLING UP WITH ICY COLD SEAWATER?

    1. DON’T FORGET THE LOUD TV COMMERCIALS!!!!! ONLY THE U.S. SENATE CAN STOP THOSE!!!! BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!! CALL NOW AND YOUR CONGRESSMEN AND WOMEN WILL ALSO GET RID OF YOUR ALL-CAPS STREET SIGNS!!!!

  17. GREEN SIGNS

    GREEN JOBS

    HURRAY!

  18. THIS IS THE MOMENT THE OCEANS BEGAN TO RECEDE AND THE PLANET BEGAN TO HEAL AND THE STREET SIGNS STOPPED YELLING AT ME.

    1. I LOL’d!

    2. I’m so stealing this, FOE.

  19. Minneapolis-St Paul Airport recently changed the names of the terminals, after 30-40 years, from Lindbergh to Terminal 1, Humphrey to Terminal 2. Said the old way was too confusing. Not sure if they used upper/lower case though. Now it is confusing

    1. That’s just the cover story. The liberals were embarrassed that Lindbergh lived there, and the conservatives were embarrassed that Humphrey lived there, so they compromised and scratched both names.

  20. I guess we see that those fast trains aren’t really that important, not compared to STREET SIGNS.

  21. All signs will be vandalized by stickers which say “Smash the Fascist State!” Enuff is enuff.

  22. Does this mean the sign at the end of my street, which currently says “STOP”, will now say “Stop”?

    If so, can I take that as no longer a command, but only a suggestion or request?

    1. change street name signs

      Unless you live on Stop St., Im guessing no.

      1. Why is it OK for DO NOT DRIVE IN PARKING LANE to be all caps but not for Elm St to be?

        Personally, I have a harder time trying to decipher the hieroglyphic signs than the ones spell out in all caps. SCHOOL SPEED ZONE AHEAD is a lot more understandable than whatever the icon sign that took its place. (Which is probably why no one ever slows down in school zones anymore.)

        1. I once overheard an Ohio police officer complaining about a Quebec trucker, The trucker claimed he couldn’t understand the dual-speed limit sign. My recollection was that the text said:
          “SPEED LIMIT
          65 MPH
          55 VEH
          OVER
          8000
          EGVW
          NON COM
          BUSSES

          Seems perfectly clear to me…

      2. Picky, picky.

    2. Most stops should be viewed as stoptions.

  23. GET OFF THOSE CELL PHONES, TOO, FUCKERS.

    USDOT RUUUUUULZ

    1. Don’t they all say this already?

  24. “more reflective traffic signs to make them easier to see at night, especially by older drivers”

    I think this is great, because I can’t see a damn thing at night, especially when I’ve been drinking. But because the state can’t require me to get a driver’s license, it’s not a problem.

    1. How can you see anything with your head up your ass?

      1. Reflective rectums.

  25. You know how Congressassholes are always responding with gasping breath about “what should be cut when everything is so important?”

    This. This right here, the department or staff members that developed this idea and the managers that approved it, this is what we cut first. This agency made it easy for us to identify them. No in depth two year evaluation required. Can their asses.

    1. AND THAN YOU CAN THEN BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THE LIVES LOST

      (demagoguery is easy!)

      1. SOMALIA!!!!!111!!!!1!

    2. Let me be clear.

      I have repeatedly asked the American People for suggestions on how to improve our aging infrastructure, and have repeatedly stated that I will consider all reasonable ideas. Here is an instance of both. I hereby announce that I have signed an Executive Order implementing the essence of Nick’s idea: As of the third of next month, driving after sundown in the United States will be strictly prohibited, except, of course, for Authorized Personnel.

      1. Authorized Personnel will all be required to take a state-sanctioned course that licenses them to be authorized, of course.

    3. the department or staff members that developed this idea and the managers that approved it, this is what we cut first

      Meh. Our first idea was to rename every street “Main Street” and every city “Anytown”.

      1. See, that’s smart. Mass production to reduce costs, right?

  26. more reflective traffic signs

    NO!! Make ’em all *solar powered*. More jobs, don’t ya know.

  27. Under Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations, communities have until 2015 to improve the nighttime visibility of roadside signs ? such as stop, yield and railroad crossing signs.

    OR WHAT?

    The issue is how well a sign redirects light from an automobile’s headlights back toward the vehicle. Signs that fail to meet minimum standards must be replaced. Communities will be allowed to change the street name signs as they wear out.

    Non compliance will be dealt with swiftly and summarily – uh, the punishment yet to be determined…

    … I mean, what can the Fed Gov do, anyway? Send in the tanks? Blow the communities to Kindom Come?

    1. Withhold funding I assume.

      1. withhold funding that the fed collect from the states in the first place. i want to see a governor man up and withhold fed gas tax money and spend it within the state it is collected and tell the FHWA to pump their styrofoam.

        1. Another reason to repeal the 17th.

          1. Why? Do you really think different people will win? Will we be better off when the political establishment can just directly name their own guys, and not face the off-chance that some rabble-rouser might win instead, when the people get to vote?

      2. Re: Sarcasmic,

        The feds are, as is their wont, not giving any money to comply with this mandate.

        So much for that.

        1. They’re not giving them any more money than they’re already getting. However, if the cities, municipalities and states don’t comply, they’ll lose the money they were already supposed to get.

          1. Re: Andrew S.

            However, if the cities, municipalities and states don’t comply, they’ll lose the money they were already supposed to get.

            No, they won’t. Remember the threats against States that were unwilling to comply with Real ID? Nothing happened THEN, nothing would happen NOW if the communities simply said “Fuck You!” to the Fed Gov.

        2. When the feds mandate things like this they’re not technically mandating things like this because they technically do not have the power to do so under the enumerated powers given to them by the Constitution.

          The power to do things like mandate the lettering of street signs belongs to the People or the States under the 10th Amendment.

          So the feds levy taxes on the citizens of these local governments, then place conditions on the return of this confiscated wealth.

          That gives the feds unlimited power to force local governments into enacting laws that the feds cannot technically enact.

          Once upon a time members of the Senate were appointed by state governments, giving the states the ability to block legislation such as this.

          But the 17th Amendment eliminated that check on federal power.

          1. You fucking crazy racist disenfranchising son of a bitch. Are you advocating that people shouldn’t be allowed to vote?

            THE CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES US A RIGHT TO VOTE AND SARCASMIC WANTS TO TAKE THAT RIGHT AWAY FROM BLACK PEOPLE AND TEH GAYS!

            (demagoguery is easy!)

          2. If I were on SCOTUS, I’d rule that if-statements on expenditures (most of which are probably unconstitutional by themselves anyways, even without the if statement) aren’t part of the enumerated powers and strike down every one of these mofos.

  28. THE HEADLINE OF THIS ARTICLE IS DOING IT WRONG:

    ALL-CAP STREET SIGNS MUST DIE!

    REMEMBER, CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL.

  29. They should force them to use paint that is 15% Ethanol.

    1. Just give me the ethanol.

  30. best idea i’ve heard of in a long time.

  31. What next. The IRS demanding citation for all comments?

  32. Exactly where does the FHWA get authority to make rules about any non-federally owned roadway?

    1. See my reply to OM.

  33. Seriously, since I live in a community where the roads are privately owned and maintained, we can tell them to piss off, right?

    Oh, wait, the fucking idiots on my POA board will think is a great idea. FOR THE CHILDREN!

  34. I think street signs is a pretty cool guy. Eh’s written in ALL CAPS and doesn’t afraid of anything.

    1. Didn’t I get ripped for this /b/ shit yesterday. You hypocrites.

      1. I made no statement on it. Actually I thought it was funny.

  35. I had an idea. The states should totally get together and form some kind of body to represent their interests as a whole when in comes to matters such as these ridiculous unfunded mandates. That’d be awesome.

    The smaller states probably wouldn’t get represented fairly if we just did by straight population, so I say, as a compromise, each state gets 2 delegates for free, just for being a state, but then on top of that we divy up slots by population.

    1. Sounds like a great idea, I wonder if it has ever been tried :}

  36. “All your capitals are belong to us!”

    works on severeal levels

  37. Not that we need a federal mandate, but could signbuyers please stop spelling out the words “North” “South”, “East”, and “West”. They look too much alike. Just give us N, W, S, or E. Or pi, 2pi, 3pi, or 4pi. Much easier to read.

    1. “Or pi, 2pi, 3pi, or 4pi.”

      That would really cause a lot of accidents, especially for people who think that 360 degrees=2pi. Or those of us who like to go old school and put East at the top of our maps.

      1. I’m pretty sure South is supposed to be at the top of all maps and globes, but how could we ever be sure, really?

  38. You fools. This is clearly an inspired effort that will create millions of jobs.

    If we do this every couple of years, changing back and forth between all caps and lowercase, the country will be the richest place on earth!!!

    1. You laugh, Hazel, but somewhere out there, someone who makes more than you believes this.

      1. People who consider themselves educated are more likely than normal people to believe that broken windows lead to wealth.

  39. My neighborhood has vertical street sign posts installed on each corner rather than the typical horizontal-street-sign-attached-to-the-lamp-post. If these were converted to mixed case for their current all caps, they likely will be harder to read.

    W
    A
    S
    H
    I
    N
    G
    T
    O
    N

    W
    a
    s
    h
    i
    n
    g
    t
    o
    n

    I’m sure the government will force us to adopt horizontal signs as a replacement.

    1. That’s… unusual. But I just looked and the section about street signs doesn’t seem to say anything about the lettering having to be horizontal. Your strange community is in luck 🙂

  40. I do find the regular-type street signs easier to read.

    As for stop signs, I sometimes have trouble seeing the non-reflective kind at night until I’m almost up to them, which can be a serious problem at 60 mph. There’s no need to change the lettering on stop and yield signs because they have distinctive shapes, and stop signs have a distinctive color, too.

    1. Syd, thanks, you inspired us to change the mandate!

      Since most drivers can’t read worth a crap anyway, we’re requiring all street names to be combinations of colored shapes. Our address, for example, is now 1437 [red triangle blue square] Street.

  41. Yeah, the “broken windows” approach with the reflective signs deserves heaps of scorn, but I like the move to mixed-case street signs. Mixed-case IS easier to read, as anyone who deals with composing text will learn as one of the first “rules,” because the letters are easier to tell apart. A shame, then, that they’re still pushing white-on-green over other color combinations that are far more legible, like black-on-yellow or white-on-blue.

  42. I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY CAPITAL LETTERS AREN’T EASIER TO READ? THEY’RE BLOCKIER, AND THEY SEEMED TO WORK FOR THE ROMANS.

    1. IT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL THE SAME HEIGHT, YOU NITWIT. AS FOR THE ROMANS, THOSE DOPES COULDN’T EVEN COME UP WITH A SYSTEM OF NUMERALS WORTH A DAMN MUCH LESS BE BOTHERED WITH SUCH NICETIES AS PUNCTUATION, SO I DUNNO IF I WOULD LOOK TO THEM ON MATTERS OF STYLE OR LEGIBILITY.

  43. at least yours are in l’anglais.

  44. How about a combination of both lines of thinking on this. Just use the same method used on engineering/architectural drawings – all caps, with the first letter of each word being a larger font size.

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