No more all caps street signs

By Ben Garbarek  - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) – If you think street signs are often hard to read you may be getting some help. New federal guidelines require state and local communities to change street signs from all capital letters to upper and lower case letters, but there's a catch.

Soon it might be easier to read street signs as you drive along the road. Boston Bradley wears bifocals and thinks that kind of visibility would be great.

"I can see it but I have to really stare at it to see all the letters because they run together," he said.

The problem is there are no federal funds to pay for these new guidelines. That doesn't sit well with people like Dinwiddie County Administrator Kevin Massengill. He says it could cost about a quarter of a million dollars to change all of the county's signs and that money has to come from somewhere.

"You have to kind of question is now the right time to implement them. Of course without some federal funds to support us in that way it's going to be some tough decisions of what other services in the county will have to go to the wayside or where those funds are going to come from," Massengill said.

Some people say it may be necessary to change signs in big cities where you don't have a lot of time to look ahead and read that sign but, in more rural communities, it may not be necessary.

People like Floyd Hudson say spending money on new street signs would be a waste.

"It's ridiculous. Why should they make you go to capital and small letters on a sign when I can read fine from here? I'm old enough to say that old people don't need it," Floyd said.

Other people say if it ain't broke...don't fix it.

"The signs are fine to me. I don't hear anyone complaining the signs are too small. To me, it's a waste of money that could be used in other areas that need it. I'm up there in age and I can see the signs," Connie Manuel said.

Dinwiddie County will hold off on replacing its signs because some congressmen are trying to repeal the new guidelines. County officials say they don't want to replace the signs unless they have to. Other localities may not have such a hard time.

Chesterfield County caught a break with the new guidelines. All the street signs there were changed to upper and lower case 15 years ago.

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