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Thread: Street-name signs

  1. #1
    Cyburbian drucee's avatar
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    Street-name signs

    I'm a fan of street-name signs as seen across the world... especially here in North America. The variation is astounding, and they are one of the most often overlooked parts of the urban environment.

    Well here are a few thoughts:
    City logos are cool.
    Backlit overhead signs: also pretty cool, although I wonder why we can't get them east of the Rockies.
    I'd like to see more block numbers on signs across the US, the way Chicago does at major intersections.
    Those huge city-designed traffic signal poles, with street names listed on them,

    Cities that sign streets well:
    Laval, QC, Canada (easy to read, consistency of signage, city logo)
    Phoenix, AZ (easy to read, unique style)
    Vancouver, BC, Canada (easy to read white-on-black, unique style, block numbers)
    Skokie, IL (large signs with block numbers)
    Windsor, CT (cool round shape and color scheme, applied throughout the whole city; see Outremont and Ville Saint-Laurent, QC, Canada)
    Santa Monica, CA (distinctive blue color and logo, aesthetically pleasing font)

    Cities that don't know how to sign streets:
    Cicero, IL (small, ugly, and often missing)
    Memphis, TN (no consistency of style, missing cardinal directions, which are important here)
    Allendale, NJ (and several other Bergen County towns: small signs, often old and missing, especially for cross streets)
    Metuchen, NJ (those four-foot posts in the ground are a pain to read, also see Park Ridge, IL)
    Arlington, MA (often hidden, missing, and just plain ugly)

    Post your photos of street signs here!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by drucee
    Backlit overhead signs: also pretty cool, although I wonder why we can't get them east of the Rockies.
    Check out Bolingbrook, IL All their major streets are backlit signs!

    I think Peoria, IL has a great street sign system.. simple font, block numbers in the corners and directions.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by drucee
    I'm a fan of street-name signs as seen across the world... especially here in North America. The variation is astounding, and they are one of the most often overlooked parts of the urban environment.

    Well here are a few thoughts:
    City logos are cool.
    Backlit overhead signs: also pretty cool, although I wonder why we can't get them east of the Rockies.
    I'd like to see more block numbers on signs across the US, the way Chicago does at major intersections.
    Those huge city-designed traffic signal poles, with street names listed on them,

    Cities that sign streets well:
    Laval, QC, Canada (easy to read, consistency of signage, city logo)
    Phoenix, AZ (easy to read, unique style)
    Vancouver, BC, Canada (easy to read white-on-black, unique style, block numbers)
    Skokie, IL (large signs with block numbers)
    Windsor, CT (cool round shape and color scheme, applied throughout the whole city; see Outremont and Ville Saint-Laurent, QC, Canada)
    Santa Monica, CA (distinctive blue color and logo, aesthetically pleasing font)

    Cities that don't know how to sign streets:
    Cicero, IL (small, ugly, and often missing)
    Memphis, TN (no consistency of style, missing cardinal directions, which are important here)
    Allendale, NJ (and several other Bergen County towns: small signs, often old and missing, especially for cross streets)
    Metuchen, NJ (those four-foot posts in the ground are a pain to read, also see Park Ridge, IL)
    Arlington, MA (often hidden, missing, and just plain ugly)

    Post your photos of street signs here!
    You left out New Orleans for places that don't know how to street sign. I went there with my SO and we got lost half the time. The street signs were useless. The only reason we were able to find our way around was that she had spent part of her college days there and her family was from Vicksburg MS and used to go there.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Pictures would be great.

    I have been trying for three years to convince our City Council to spend money on new street signs. Ours have nothing on them that mentions the cities name, logo or anything else relevant to the city. And one of their biggest concerns is that people do not know when they enter our city and when they leave it, even though we are located in the middle of the Salt Lake Valley. The response I get is "why would we do that? It seems like an expenditure that has no return for us. It is a waste of money" A big step, we finally got a few gateway signs, so we have that going for us, which is nice.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    What always gets me are places that only sign one of the streets at most intersections. This is especially bad in New England, but there are enough examples of that in this area, too. If a municipality is so hard up that they can't afford to identify all of the streets at every intersection....

    OTOH, Appleton has begun to install new design street name signs, bigger than the old ones, with white upper and lower case letters and block numbers on a green background with a white outline. Very basic but much better than the old ones.

    In the rest of our metro area, the best signs are likely those of the City of Menasha, they use a strange (almost an 'old West' style) but very readable font of white letters on a blue background with their city logo on the left end.

    In the rest of the state of Wiaconsin, I have always liked Madison's signs, a very basic, readable and unique style of white-on-green, and mounted in a distinctive manner.

    Mike

  6. #6
         
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    Quote Originally posted by drucee
    I'm a fan of street-name signs as seen across the world... especially here in North America. The variation is astounding, and they are one of the most often overlooked parts of the urban environment.

    Well here are a few thoughts:
    City logos are cool.
    Backlit overhead signs: also pretty cool, although I wonder why we can't get them east of the Rockies.
    I'd like to see more block numbers on signs across the US, the way Chicago does at major intersections.
    Those huge city-designed traffic signal poles, with street names listed on them,

    [snip]

    Post your photos of street signs here!
    Troy, Michigan (outside of Detroit) has some wonderful, huge, backlit streetsigns along Big Beaver Rd. The rest of the Detroit Metro Area seems to be lacking in this department. Unless you know the city, downtown Detroit can be very hard to navigate.


    Geoff

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Gawd, I'm such a dork.

    Here goes some suburban Cleveland municipal street signage.

    Waite Hill Village



    City of Kirtland



    Kirtland Hills Village

    Yes, this is really a municipal sign.


    City of Mentor







    City of Beachwood





    City of Shaker Heights

    Standard Cuyahoga County advance sign




    City of Cleveland Heights





    City of University Heights



    City of Warrensville Heights



    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Cyburbian drucee's avatar
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    Beachwood, Shaker Heights (shades of Westmount or Toronto?) and Cleveland Heights seem almost Canadian in clarity of signage... in fact, I think I prefer white on blue to white on green. Many Quebec cities use black-on-white and mixed case, which is also very aesthetically pleasing, especially when the signs are large and brand-new, as they often are.

    Add the former city of Sillery, QC, Canada (now part of Québec City) to the list of cities with great street signage... city name is always displayed, and the signs use a white serif font on a super-reflective blue background.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian drucee's avatar
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    I'm gonna geek out again... thanks to Google Street View's inclusion of Canada today I can resurrect this old thread and share with you guys my favorite examples of Quebecois street-name signs, which are the best-looking street-name signs in the world.

    Laval, QC, a suburb of Montreal. Ugly inner-suburban architecture reminiscent of Long Island or Northeast Philadelphia, but I love these blue signs that have recently been installed throughout the city. They're big, bright, distinctive and set in what appears to be Clearview for a look that's almost French combined with Scandinavian.

    Outremont, QC. These signs are standard issue in the Montreal neighborhood (formerly independent city) of Outremont, which has a feel very similar to the residential areas of Chicago's Hyde Park. Cool round shape and nice details. They're starting to fade in places, so I hope Montreal isn't replacing them with their standard (although still aesthetically pleasing) white rectangle design.

    Hampstead, QC. This Montreal suburb, whose stone cottages and green lawns recall Britain's garden suburb of the same name, does a great variation on Toronto's distinctive shape. They appear to be new since my last visit to the area in 2005, and in this fiercely anglophone area, appear not to conform to provincial regulations on bilingual signs.

    Terrebonne, QC. Middle-of-the-road suburb on the "Rive-Nord" (North Shore) of Montreal. Friendly font, cute logo. Notice the former street name displayed with a strikeout below the current one: this is a result of the city's efforts to eliminate street-name duplication following the municipal amalgamations of the early 2000s.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    San Luis Obispo, CA:



    Zzyzx, CA:




    Albuquerque, NM:




    Flagstaff, AZ:



    Aztec, NM (Nothing special about the sign; I just like the picture.):



    St. George, UT:



    Philadelphia, PA (Again, more about the picture than the sign, but this one is at least a bit unusual in shape.):



    Mentone, TX (The signs, like the town, have seen better days.):



    Golden, CO:



    Boulder, CO:




    Santa Fe, NM:









  11. #11
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by drucee View post
    They appear to be new since my last visit to the area in 2005, and in this fiercely anglophone area, appear not to conform to provincial regulations on bilingual signs.
    You don't see the Rue before the street name? I do.

    Quote Originally posted by drucee View post
    Backlit overhead signs: also pretty cool, although I wonder why we can't get them east of the Rockies.
    They are all over Florida. I think that is east of the Rockies

    Quote Originally posted by drucee View post
    Arlington, MA (often hidden, missing, and just plain ugly)
    You need to add most of New England in here. Not only are the main streets not signed, but there are never any block numbers. One expection to this is Providence, which just started to install new street name signs that are color-coded by neighborhood and have toppers with neighborhood names. They are awesome! Too bad I can't post attachments.

    We just adopted a new city sign policy that includes a switch from green-white to blue-white and toppers for "Historic District," "Downtown" and other areas. Our first new signs go up later this year.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Champaign, IL has the backlit street signs at major streets.

    Some of the least easy to read street signs are in Park Ridge, IL where they do vertical letters on posts. Very hard to see! They also have some ridiculous and excessive "No Parking" signage:
    http://dirtamericana.blogspot.com/20...ere-again.html
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  13. #13
    My family recently visited Albuquerque and s.w. Colorado. My wife found ABQ's street signs to be very confusing, thinking the points indicated two way streets versus one way. After her second mistake, I did the rest of the driving

    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  14. #14

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    My family recently visited Albuquerque and s.w. Colorado. My wife found ABQ's street signs to be very confusing, thinking the points indicated two way streets versus one way. After her second mistake, I did the rest of the driving
    Heh. Particularly confusing since those signs are only downtown, which has many more one-way streets than the rest of the city (though not nearly as many as it used to).

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    I'm a fan of New York's street signs. I've never been there, but there is something comforting knowning that if the street signs say 'avenue' they run one way, and 'street' the other.

    Maybe thats just me.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Some of my favorite street signs are the old-school ones in Brookline, MA, that were made at the Town's foundry out of aluminum for many years. It looks like black letters painted over white, but it is actually black letters extruded off the surface. The surface is not generally painted at all (although I have seen some exceptions, where they may have painted them because they became discolored):



    In the past 10 years or so, as they need replacing, they have been replaced with a much more generic, flat sign with black letters on white:



    This became quite controversial in town among the preservationist, who went as far as to try to get a law passed that the old signs would not be taken down. The public works guys responded that the new ones met AASHTO standards and, besides, were being put on breakaway poles that were much safer. You'll notice that the example I posted here is actually not on a breakaway post, for some reason. There is currently an impasse where no old signs are being taken down (although if they get hit and break they are replaced.)

    And as an aside, don't you love street names like "Taylor Crossway"?

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