Outdated signs point to Toronto’s indifference about street clutter
The city of Toronto is losing population and its street life as a result of its neglect of street signs and the way they are updated to the Internet age.
Not only the numbers, but the type of signs and how they are read have changed as technology has allowed the Internet to move the most important information from hard copy signs to electronic signboards and screens.
To take one example, in 2011 when a young Toronto man had his license plate numbers stolen in the south end, Toronto Police were forced to look for him on Google Earth to find out his location.
Since then, Google Maps and other sites have made it possible to find people on the Internet.
One of the few signs that still say “Don’t Drive in Heavy Traffic” is the only one that still says “Don’t Drive in Heavy Traffic” in the area where the police used Google Earth to look for the man. The two signs were facing each other along McCaul Drive on the south end a few years ago.
More streets need to be upgraded to keep up with the pace of city living. Sign posts can be easily removed or changed over to the Internet and this is usually done at night or in the evenings.
In 2010, City council passed a motion saying that “all signs, including streetlights and traffic lights, need to be changed so that they reflect the reality of the 21st century.”
Since then, we have seen streets that are supposed to be well lit, such as Hwy 519 and Yonge St, get the message.
As far as the signs being updated, it is done by the city by sending out notice forms to businesses. All of these signs need to be updated and the city’s Street and Sign Department then gets the work done. The signs are updated as a group for all streets between two hours prior to and two hours after the city works its night shift.
With a population of about 25,000 people, the city has to keep up on street signs while many neighbourhoods in the city are not being served. In some areas, there are more residents than there are street signs, such as on Yonge St, the “Walk” sign that is so important.
The city should also upgrade more signs for the residents, businesses and tourists that drive into neighbourhoods to