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Better street signs on the way, but when?


Answers compiled by Max Harrold of The Gazette

March 15, 2010 9:16 AM



The city of Montreal has installed new streets signs using the Clearview font system, which has more spacing between the letters and the signs are larger and easier to see for visitors and those needing glasses. This sign is on the corner of Rene-Levesque and University. Taken on Friday, March 12, 2010.

Photograph by: Peter McCabe, THE GAZETTE


Q: With the baby boomers getting older, and our eyesight getting weaker, why does the city of Montreal not make street signs bigger so that we can see them before we reach the street corner? This would also avoid accidents when you're looking for a street and don't want to come to it at the last moment.




A: The city of Montreal and its boroughs are planning to gradually change all of its 65,000 street signs to include an easier-to-read, sans serif font known as Clearview, city spokesperson Lucie-Anne Fabien responded. The Clearview system is already used in some cities on the West Island and on the South Shore and in Toronto. It has been approved by the Federal Highway Administration in the United States and is being adopted as the standard across North America, Fabien noted. A pilot project with Clearview signs was conducted in downtown Montreal, at University St. and René Lévesque Blvd. and the signs have been left in place until a final decision is reached about how new signs will look elsewhere in the city, Fabien explained. (Options include whether or not to include a space-hogging city of Montreal logo and what colour the background should be.)


The Clearview letters are as much as 20 centimetres in height, or double the current height standard. The edges of the letters have more spacing between them, making them easier to read at a greater distance. Clearview also recommends the consistent placement of the signs, hanging them from traffic lights and on the far right side (from the point of view of oncoming traffic) at intersections without traffic lights. But Fabien could not say when all of the city's 4,100 kilometres of thoroughfares might get better street signs. The city is focused on the sorry state of the streets, sidewalks and sewers. This year, $537.4 million will be spent on roadwork, Fabien said.


So why are Clearview street signs important in the grand scheme of things? Alison Smiley, an ergonomist who is president of Human Factors North, a Toronto company that provides expertise in designing workplaces based on human characteristics, said it can make a critical difference to drivers 50 and older and for tourists or others not familiar with the city. In a study of older drivers travelling at 38 kilometres an hour, signs with 20 centimetre letters provided seven seconds of time to change lanes safely before an intersection. The current average recognition time for 10 centimetre letters is two seconds.


Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Better+street+signs+when/2682982/story.html#ixzz0iG8Un6MU

About time. I really like those "test" street signs. They look great! I think I prefer the Green ones though.


Green ones (from http://www.flickr.com/photos/montrealstreetsigns/460880559/)


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