Citizen complaint of the day: Don't you go closing my unresolved font issue before you do something about it, buster

Bad font on South End street sign

The font kvetcher of the South End filed another report over the Appleton Street sign, after the city marked his or her last complaint as "closed:"

This sign is still crookedly printed and incorrectly using a disproportionate capital-to-lower case scale.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

    Free tagging: 

    Comments

    In this economy, don't you

    In this economy, don't you think replacing perfectly good street signs with expensive ones that are more difficult to read is senseless? Or should everyone just shut their mouths like obedient boys and girls and let the useless spending continue?

    I'm not going to defend the

    I'm not going to defend the merits of the complaint itself (and I agree that there are far more important issues than the font on a sign) but I have noticed that Citizens Connect is quick to mark cases closed.

    There was an item here on UHub a few weeks ago about a Citizens Connect complaint regarding trash piling up in Mary Soo Hoo Park in Chinatown. The City's initial response was that it was not their jurisdiction so they closed the complaint. Well the Greenway Conservancy said it wasn't there problem either so the trash was still there. Rather than actually do anything - like contact the Greenway and figure out who has the responsibility for maintaining the park - the City just closed the complaint. It looks like a resident had to continue to badger both parties until the City agreed to pick up the trash that one time.

    Correct

    Yes, the city is very speedy to "close" Citizens Connect tickets by turfing the complaints to other agencies, and there is no follow-up done to ensure that those other agencies do anything at all. For example, complaints about graffiti are sent to the USPS. I've reported the mailbox on Linden near the corner of Cambridge Street twice since August (along with pretty much every mailbox in that part of Allston), and it hasn't been touched. Same with graffiti on electrical boxes - the reports get turfed to the utilities, who do nothing, but the city closes the tickets.

    (There is also a problem that if reports of graffiti are "too close" to other graffiti, the city flags them as duplicate reports even when photos show clearly different things, and then closes half the reports and ignores the other half. Yes, I am fed up once again with Citizens Connect.)

    Legitimate complaint

    Citizens Connect is the perfect place for this type of complaint.

    With this signs, now it's clear; it's as much about laziness as it is poor sign design. I mean, who would look at that and think it's been centered correctly? And why can't the letters look better?

    Very unappealing.

    The poor letter placement

    is apparently to compensate for the fact the sign blank isn't tall enough to provide adequate blank space on the top and bottom of the legend.

    The accepted standard for street name signs is that the height of the sign should be double the height of the uppercase letter. So, for a 6 inch letter, the sign should be 12 inches high. However, this blank looks to be only 8 inches high (older street name signs used a 4 inch uppercase legend on 8 inch blanks).

    This requirement is especially important with mixed-case lettering, where you have 'tails' of lowercase letters that fall below the initial uppercase letters.

    And, despite what some people have stated, this legend is NOT Clearview font (which requires special permission or 'interim approval' from FHWA for use). It's a narrow Series 'B" Highway Gothic - like the inadequate height, this was probably done to save money by minimizing the sign width. As the old saying goes, penny wide and pound foolish.

    JohnAKeith

    maybe the person responsible for changing the font cant accept the fact that you are smarter, work harder and are doing better than them?

    p.s. what does your A stand for? it seems off center.
    very unappealing.

    Good God, people

    It exists, it's actually the correct name for the street, and it's spelled correctly. That's way "above and beyond" the typical performance by the Boston and Massachusetts departments charged with labeling our streets.

    I remember long years when signs for "Havard" and "Brigton" avenues in Allston went unchanged, as well as the "Commonweath Street" debacle when the state decided to label the Mass Pike overpasses.

    No need to lower the bar...

    No need to lower the bar... there's nothing wrong with expecting better than the bare minimum. Boston residents have to work pretty damn hard to pay the kind of money it costs to live in this city. So, if someone does a crappy job at signage and a resident calls them on it, then it should be fixed. Can't handle constructive criticism? Then maybe maybe said person should switch jobs.

    You know what?

    If the day ever comes when we have something approximating comprehensive (not to mention comprehensible) signage on the majority of Greater Boston roads, then maybe I'll feel like whinging over the font choice or the width of the sign are worth more of some city employee's time than it takes to snicker and close out the complaint.

    #firstworldproblems

    havard

    OK, to be sure, the sign that was spelled "Havard" is a legit regional spelling by the person who probably made the sign. Not included in your recollection was the word "Yad" just to it's right.

    Also acceptable is the replacement of the traditional "R" with an "H" as in the spellings "Havahd" and "Yahd". Let's get it straight, people!

    So....

    Is there a specific certification or advanced degree for font kvetchers? It might be a good second or third career for me. It sounds much better than being an unemployed freelancer and I'l bet the pay's about the same.

    That's your opinion and

    That's your opinion and doubtless shared by many others. However, aren't we all capable of handling a range of problems: from the seemingly trivial to those of much greater importance? Signage is on the low end of the spectrum.What of it?

    att: Scratchie

    You might want to check your over the top rage... this topic really bothers you, doesn't it?

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Lighten up. It's a SIGN.

    Moving on.

    Value for the money?

    Scratchie, What if you went into a store and bought something at full retail -- let's say it was a sweater -- and you brought it home and found that the sleeves were put on crookedly?

    And so you brought it back to the store and asked them to make it right? Would you be a "whiny loser" or simply a customer demanding his money's worth.

    And what if the store clerk laughed at you and said, "You know, there are kids down the block freezing because they can't afford a sweater, and you're complaining about the sleeves are crooked on yours? What the hell is wrong with you?

    If that happened, what would be your reaction?

    The fact is, we damn well paid full retail for that sign, and then some. What objection do you have to us demanding that the sign be of first quality, and not some kind of factory second?

    Newsflash?

    And what's your point?

    That for taxpayers to demand accountability and value for our dollar is not appropriate? Whether it's $500 for a street sign that looks like a factory second, or $15 billion for a tunnel that leaks, we have every right (and even an obligation) to demand better.

    Deja vu

    Your point is?

    And your point being?

    what's your point?

    You're beginning to sound like it's difficult for you to figure out what people are talking about. Maybe you should just try listening for awhile.

    Coincidence?

    I'm sure it's just complete coincidence that there are three different anonymous posters saying the same thing over and over with similar writing styles. Try creating an account and a pseudonym if you don't want people to assume that you're responsible for all the identical whines in this thread.

    Actually, unless somebody has hard evidence to the contrary,

    it's most likely this sign was fabricated by the City sign shop with materials on hand, and not by an outside sign contractor at full retail prices. Most likely this was done to replace a sign that had been damaged or was stolen.

    That would most likely explain why an 8 inch blank was used instead of a 12 inch blank, the apparent hand application of individual lettering (most contractors fabricating these signs in quantity use an automated fabrication process known in the industry as "electrocut" - the Appleton Street sign wasn't made with this process), and why similar sized and font signs haven't yet been showing up en masse in the South End or other parts of Boston.

    And your point being?

    You think that the guys in the city sign shop are untrained kids making minimum wage? They're highly paid (hence the comment about "full retail and then some"); producing professional-looking signs ought to be table stakes; calling them out when the fail is entirely reasonable.

    Attn: The homebound citizen bearing a grudge

    I assume that you are homebound. This can be the only explanation for your obsession with this sign.

    Here are the facts as presented: The sign disappeared. It was replaced with one that no only spelled the street name properly, but legibly. Your quibbles about font and kerning aside, the sign performs its function as intended.

    I'm going to make this declaration and I want you to read each portion of it down to the punctuation: Your complaints are now my targets. For each that appears, I will file a counter-complaint about said complaint. I will note that the missing sign was replaced, the replacement sign is properly spelled and legible and that I have it on good information that someone intends to steal it to rectify a font and kerning issue.

    I will then direct them to your complaint. This may seem counterproductive and a complete waste of city time and resources. I feel the same way about your complaint. However, I am willing to dedicate the time and energy to this pursuit just to point out the folly of your own.

    You are a neighborhood nabob. Your trivial grievances are not worth the bandwidth expended to write them.

    Please do not respond. Your entire line of argument has grown tiresome.

    still no excuse

    A city with more than 600,000 people should have its own sign shop, with proper sign CAD software.

    Much smaller municipalities are able to get this stuff right.

    And that right there....

    ... is the kind of positive, constructive civic engagement we love to see around here.

    Citizen: Hey, the way the city does x is kinda a waste of money and produces crappy results.

    Hack apologist: We've always done it that way.

    Citizen: Look, plenty of other places seem to get it right.

    Hack apologist: Eff you. You don't like it, then move.

    Maybe the complainant

    has a lot of free time on her hands, what with the nanny taking care of the kids, the housekeeper cleaning the condo, the new 2nd Buttery location siphoning off some of the wait time from the original Buttery location, so she could compain about things like this.

    Meanwhile, there are kids a block away who have no food on their table, but let's complain again about a street sign's font!

    ONLY IN THE SOUTH END!

    Woo Hoo!

    So, as the author of a couple of the snarky anon comments, but by no means all of them, let me say:

    1. I think the original guy/gal who keeps reporting the same sign via citizens connect is at best a harmless doofus and probably more likely an annoying jerk
    2. I think the people on uHub who seem to get incensed at entirely legitimate CC complaints: trash not picked up, bad pavement patch, pothole, etc. are really, badly, part of the problem. (although I'll admit to being a little vague as to what exactly the problem is.)
    3. I get a fleeting and perhaps unhealthy, but nevertheless real pleasure from spinning up the latter group of people.
    4. Fuck the old-style "MYOB and never, ever try to change anything or do anything to improve your neighborhood in any way; never speak up for your fellow taxpayers against waste; never demand competence from the city government or its employees." attitude and everyone who espouses it.

    I think the real issue

    is with #4. I can't speak for everyone, obviously, but I think what is causing the snarky responses like mine is the fact that "improv[ing] your neighborhood" is a relative thing. Some of us think that focusing city resources on crime reduction, livability issues like street and sidewalk repairs, proper trash pickup, etc are what improve a neighborhood (thus I think your point #2 is entirely spot on).

    This person thinks that spending MORE money to remake a sign that is perfectly functional, just *slightly* tweaked (I mean, really, it is hardly noticeable) is what improves a neighborhood. And believes it so strongly that they will keep filing complaints and jam up resources that could go to more important issues.

    To be fair, I don't have much of a dog in this fight; as my username suggests, I live on the other side of the river, where our city is run well and doesn't suffer foolish requests like this. But it is tons of fun to watch and enjoy!

    A little late to the party...

    But this was just too relevant:

    IMAGE(http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/kerning.png)

    I get the person who made the complaint- the sign is jarring- and it's just further proof as to the carelessness of a lot of the city's departments. Does it mean much in the grand scheme of things? No. But is it still annoying? Yes.