Feds Force NYC To Replace All Street Signs

$27 Million In State Funds Going Towards Upper/Lower Letters

NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) — Is it a safety issue, or just plain stupid?

The federal government is requiring New York City to change the lettering on all of its street signs.

CBS 2’s Magee Hickey went to one of the first neighborhoods to get the new signs to see what residents think.

Old city street signs are written in all caps. But the federally mandated new way has a mix of upper and lower case letters. Which is easier to read?

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

“To me the easier to read is with capital letters,” Norwood resident Jose Manuel said.

“I think this one is easier to read, bigger letters,” Sonia Covington added.

“I believe the upper case, all upper case, a lot easier to read,” said Marquise Campbell.

But the feds disagree.

By the year 2018, the Federal Highway Administration is requiring that all 250,000 New York City street signs be changed to the upper and lower case font called “Clearview.” The feds say drivers can identify the words more quickly with the upper/lower case mix, particularly at night. A few New Yorkers agreed.

“I would say that one — lower/upper — easier to read. Yes, the letters are larger,” Fordham resident Frank Segarra said.

For some, it’s a matter of aesthetics. The 34th Street Business Improvement District used its own money to change the signs to upper and lower case years ago. To them, it was a question of size. To them, size matters.

The larger blue Midtown signs are much more expensive then the green ones the city will be replacing — at a cost of $27 million.

A spokesman for the Department of Transportation said: “Federal standards already require replacing all street signs by 2018 with new, more reflective signs, and we will comply with the federal lettering requirement at the same time. Since the lifespan of a sign is about 10 years, most signs would be routinely replaced during that period anyway.”

But still, many Bronx residents wonder.

“You have unemployment, poverty, better ways to spend that money than on signs,” one person said.

The Bronx is the first borough to get the new street signs.

City transportation officials said they’ll be no effect on the city budget because these new street signs are being paid for with state funds.

More from Rich Lamb
Comments

One Comment

  1. Thomas Preston says:

    They can save money and improve visibility by lettering the posts.. viynal lettering can be applied on site and cost a fraction of what signs cost.

  2. Tony Cooper says:

    We are in a recession, money is tight everywhere, and we have federal dolts doing something that is totally senseless! Implement the new standars as replacment signs are required but don’t put this massive program into effect all at one. What a bunch of idiots!

  3. Brenda says:

    I live in Michigan and feel sorry for New York. We are almost as bad off as they are and certainly can’t afford useless replacement of signs. As they need it would be ok. Besides, our little city just replaced our street signs last year, green/white/all caps. We certainly don’t have money to do something like this.
    What is the DOT thinking? It’s stupid what ever or who ever did this.

  4. CompuFreak says:

    They’ll be paid for with state funds. Just another way upstate can get stuck with higher taxes to support the city while our school budgets get smaller and smaller each year due to cuts in state funding.

  5. frank says:

    i love to know who brotherinlaw is in the street sign business? this stinks of coruption

  6. Jack says:

    Some bureaucrat in Washington, DC has a relative who makes street signs.

  7. DK says:

    IRONICally the Federal Highway Admin. has a hotline and number to report FRAUD, WASTE, ABUSE, AND MISMANAGEMENT.
    wHY don’t we complain to the source about their OWN ABUSE of our TAX money in a time of financial crises.
    Here it is: Hotline@oig.dot.gov
    800-424-9071

  8. Diane says:

    Thought I was dreaming when I heard this on the radio early in the morning. We have soldiers dying in Afghanistan, the economy is in tatters, people are losing jobs and homes, but the federal government in its wisdom is focusing on replacing our street signs? What lunatic thought this one up? Talk about setting priorities….

  9. Rick says:

    I live in NYC and this is NOT ADDITIONAL tax dollars. When the old signs wear out or fade, they will be replaced with ones with clearer font. The same money would be used to pay for these new signs as any other replacement between now and 2018. And, by the way, signs last about 10-years in NYC, so where’s the story here?

  10. whosebone says:

    Can’t pay new firefighters, need to lay off policemen in the city, Hey I’ve got a great idea, let’s change the lettering on the street signs. The emperor has no clothes, but no one’s saying it.

  11. Meridia says:

    Meridia … <a

  12. Daniel P. says:

    I agree 100% with David Hall

  13. Mark J. says:

    I’d better get into the street sign making business. Strike while the iron is hot, they say.

  14. yelnats says:

    Do as they do in Japan. No street signs.

  15. pochemunyet says:

    This is NOT under the Fed’s purview. NYS should tell them to stick it.

  16. wayne says:

    Any regulations about NO PARKING signs. Like make them so we all UNDERSTAND them

  17. Aggravated says:

    Where in the Constitution, does it give the federal government the right to regulate local streets? After all, the federal government can only regulate that which is either expressly enumerated in the Constitution or that which is “necessary and proper” to carry out an enumerated power. Of course, they can also spend as they wish, and dole out highway money, and put any strings that they wish to attach on the grant as long as the regulations are rationally related to the spending, but this is just ridiculous.

    The local streets only have no direct effect on interstate commerce and arguably no effect at all. If this is a string attached to the federal government’s highway grants, give the money back. Looking around the city—especially in the four other boroughs—I do not see any highway improvements, just potholes, aimless construction, and detours. We would be better without the money.

  18. Jean says:

    Come on is this a joke NYState is in financial ruin. They’re are imposed cuts in the NYPD and NYFD, children’s educations are in jeopardy and your gonna raise the fare on the MTA. Doesn’t Albany know we as New Yorkers have more important things to spend this money on but stinking street signs. Come on New York when are we gonna say ENOUGH!!!!

  19. mike says:

    ITS A GREAT IDEA……….WE HAVE PLENTY OF TAX REVENUE FOR THIS AND IF WE DON’T, JUST RAISE OUR TAXES A LITTLE MORE. WHO CARES IF IT COSTS A LITTLE MORE. AND WHEN WE ARE DONE CHANGING ALL THE SIGNS……A NEW STUDY WILL COME OUT TELLING US THAT THE SIGNS NEED TO BE A BLACK BACKGROUND WITH WHITE LETTERING OR VICE VERSA…..WE CAN CHANGE THE SIGNS….BOHICA………Bend Over Here It Comes Again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. MK says:

    Wow. What a complete waste of funds that could be better spent elsewhere. What right does the federal government have to tell local municipalities what their signs look like. I can see interstate highways but not local streets.

  21. David Hall says:

    I disagree, The capital letters are easier to see. This issue should be a city or a state issue.

    1. Tina says:

      It may be easier to read, however, under the current times this is not affordable. It should be put on the back burner until a later date and put out for bid in the private sector!

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