A Capital Offense?
To comply with Federal Highway Administration (FHA) guidelines, the State of New York is projected to spend $27.6 million to replace street signs with all capital letters with those that include lowercase letters, according to the New York Post. The FHA's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which provides guidance for street-sign legibility among its many functions, contends that the change offers improves readability that will save lives.
New York State officials initially opposed the change based on cost, and the FHA allowed a phase-in period through 2018. Although the initial changes were proposed in 2003, sign replacement didn't begin until this year. According to city officials, the cost of producing new signs is $110 apiece, so replacing the city's whole complement of more than 250,000 signs will incur the $27 million-plus expense.
In the Post article, City Transportation Commission Janette Sadik-Khan said the city replacements nearly 8,000 annually due to basic wear and tear, and added, "On the Internet, all caps mean you are shouting. Our new signs can quiet down as well."