Signs good and bad

Some SLOW signs are appearing around the neighbourhood. I noticed the first ones on Laurel, and then on Primrose:

I think they are well intentioned. It will be interesting to see if they work. The City filmed some of the locations before the signs went in, and will film again some months later.

Am I being too picky when I say they look too small? Anemic? Weak? Not muscular enough to convey the message with authority? The only word missing is Sorry.  And maybe Please.

Bigger thicker letters maybe?

Or maybe they are too abstract. First read the word slow. Then translate it into something meaningful like taking the foot off the gas, or looking at the speedometer. Or just don’t bother.

Something with a more direct message might work better. Like a number, same as you should see on your speedometer. No implication you are speeding. All good vibes. I also like more interesting formats. Like the one on this Irish t-shirt with a red heart circling the 30kmh, the Love 30 campaign. It’s positive, graphic, and numeric:

Love30 is a campaign in metric countries; in the US, it is 20’s Plenty. Although I notice some metric cities are taking the 20 and applying it to kmh.

Signs, whether on posts or painted on the street, are signs that the road was built wrong. It encourages traffic to go too fast. So the road is too wide, too flat, too straight, too open, too freeway like. Signs and flexposts are just interim measures until we fix the design of the roads themselves.

Down near Bluesfest, residents are dealing with excessive noise and post concert exuberance with remarkably restrained tact, so Canadian:

I notice that Bluesfest attendees are often geographically challenged. Lost. They only get into this neighbourhood once a year, and it looks different after dark. And if you arrive in a group where someone else did the navigating …

so I’d add another few signs to the mix, with an arrow pointing Fastest Way to Bluesfest and one pointing Fastest Way Downtown. Gotta keep them moving along …


6 thoughts on “Signs good and bad

  1. Generally, these kinds of campaigns have some effect, on the people who need “top of mind” messaging to be reminded to do the right thing. They don’t have much effect on the people who aren’t inclined to do the right thing, and likely this group is a majority of the targeted population. I am a proponent of re-engineering the pavement (not that I’ve convinced DC to do so), using asphalt block, to provide visual, aural, and physical cues about how fast motor vehicles should be moving. Many cities still have extant sections of such pavement. DC has a few examples. Monument Boulevard in Richmond, Virginia is the best example. A small town street in Cambridge, Maryland is still made up of brick, etc.

    I suggest that roadways around parks, libraries, schools, and in commercial districts should be reconfigured along these lines. Same I suppose for neighborhood serving streets, where we prefer cars move slowly–20 mph. Instead we engineer all roads to be capable of speeds greater than 50 mph.

  2. So we can’t have 30 km/h signs because signs won’t slow people down (drivers drive at the speed they are “comfortable” driving at) but signs on the pavement are effective?

    1. Signs on the side of the road blend into the background, especially on familiar routes. White paint on the road is different, but eventually will fade from view (both figuratively and literally).

      To test this thesis, make a list of what you think the last five city installed roadside signs (speed limit, school zone, city park, bus stop, lane ends, median, yield, stop, etc.) are on your usual route home, then compare your list to the actual. My statistically invalid sample suggests that people will struggle to get 3 out of 5.

      Finally, if a sign is beside the road and no one notices it, is it really there?

  3. I remember my friends throwing beer bottles and cans on the beach where we were sitting. I said “you should put them in the garbage bin over there”. They replied “they should put a garbage bin over here if they want us to use it”.

  4. Or they could spend millions instead on new cycling lanes! That’s the way the city handles all of the so called ‘traffic calming’ problems! Especially if it’s within the cycling councillors wards! We all know who they are!

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