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Road Sign Design by Committee aka Faulty Directions

globearticle.jpg You want to go where? The Boston Globe’s article Street Smarts? illustrates perfectly why even locals are flummoxed by the exploding number of increasingly ambiguous road signs around town. But now at least we know why — they’re designed by a committee!

“Before a sign goes up, Timmins [a signage engineer] reviews it with a design consultant, engineers in the local district, and in some cases the Federal Highway Administration. “It’s not that one person has a final yes or no, but the decision is made collectively among those parties,” Timmins said. Of course driving in Boston has always been a nerve-wracking experience, but don’t blame it on the bovines. Awhile back, the Globe article “How Now? Cow Path Tale is Pure Bull“, debunked the popular tale about the origin of the city’s streets: “The cow path fable is one of Boston’s biggest and most enduring myths, according to William Fowler, director of the Massachusetts Historical Society, who urged drivers not to blame cows for our dysfunctional roadways. The birth of Boston’s roadways was simply unorganized, he said; people built houses where they pleased, and roads emerged among them without the benefit of urban planners.”

Tags: design consultant, locals, myths, road signs, signage

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3 Comments

  1. July 28, 2009 14:06

    Truly Awful Road Signs [Part 2]

    After Unhelpful Road Signs [Part 1], from the USA – See Road Sign Design by Committee aka Faulty Directions – here is Part 2, from Sardinia.

  2. July 20, 2009 13:26

    Road sign design is not too much of a hard thing to get right. I think there should be a way to let the public have a say on road sign wording and graphics.

  3. GEORGE MAY
    December 06, 2007 12:39

    We want to replace existing signs on the outskirts of our village. The wording is to be as follows:-
    WELCOME TO EYAM – HISTORIC VILLAGE
    Please suggest type of material that might be used and apossible costs. The signs might be placed on metal supports as now or stone blocks

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