Worcester Whimsy or Sign Shop Sedition?

It never ceases to amaze me how the city can always find the funds to replace street name signs that don’t need replacing, but our potholes go unfilled.

I’m also dazzled by the variety of typefaces the DPW sign shop uses on our signs.  Someone’s quietly working their way through all of the typefaces in their fonts menu.  They’ve gone past “C” already, so some kind soul must have deleted Comic Sans before they got to it.

This sign replaced a legible one within the past couple of months:

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a “Hearts & Serifs” cabal in this city’s administration.  The above sign certainly has serifs and a heart, but flies in the face of the most frequent excuse I’ve heard for unnecessary sign replacement — that the street name needs to be in uppers & lowers, not all uppercase like the trusty signs of yore.  Hey, at least there’s one lowercase letter on that sign.

Just up the street from there are two signs that were replaced a couple of years ago:

Worcester’s certainly not hung up on consistency. We’ve spiced up our Times New Roman here with a dash of Helvetica Bold in uppercase.  Too bad they didn’t check the bottom one’s spelling against their own street listing — it should be “DiGregorio”. not Digregorio.

Some signs just leave me scratching my head.  Here’s a sign they put up this winter:

The uppercase “AVE” looks like quite the afterthought.  That sign replaced one that looked like this:

The latter may be a bit unexciting, but it was effective.  With marching orders & a bottomless budget from on high, though, there’s no limit to what the DPW can spend on sign replacement, nor are there any standards or guidelines to which they are being held.  There’s a persistent nagging from downtown to get hearts & serifs up for some peculiarly OCD reason, but the folks at the sign shop take every other creative license possible as they festoon our street corners with every imaginable signage variation, while the taxpayer foots the bill.

Is it just latent creativity that’s behind this, or is the sign shop revolting against its taskmasters in some sort of passive-aggressive quest to embarrass the “Hearts & Serifs” gang downtown?

CWW: Citizen Science Sampler on Saturday

via MassAudubon:

Citizen Science Sampler
Sponsored by Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
Sat, May 19, 2012 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Instructors: Loree Burns – Children’s Author; Martha Gach – Conservation Coordinator

Audience: All (suitable for children 8 – 16 years)


Scan the skies for hummingbirds and orioles; search the butterfly garden for monarchs and their larva; or peer under coverboards for redbacked salamanders. Mass Audubon offers all sorts of ways for regular folks to get involved in scientific monitoring and increase our knowledge of the natural world.

Get introduced to ongoing citizen science projects through short 15 minute presentations followed by questions and exploration. Return later for more training in an area that especially interests you.

Loree Griffin Burns, local citizen scientist and author of the recently released children’s primer, Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard, will also be available to share her experiences and sign books.

MBCR Meet the Management

A reader forwarded me an email from MBCR (the MBTA commuter rail operator) regarding Spring “Meet the Management Team” Sessions.  You can find details on their website:

Many of you have told us that our customary boston based Meet the Managers sessions are difficult for you to attend; therefore MBCR’s management team has decided to try a different format and venue.

We will be sending a team of managers from various departments out to several of our outlying stations. …

MBCR management will take these opportunities to respond to questions and concerns, receive your suggestions and comments or simply be there to listen while you share your personal experiences riding the commuter rail.

Worcester will have a Meet the Management session on June 19 from 6:30am-8:30am.

Unfortunately, by the time the management will be there, three trains will have already departed Worcester for Boston, and a fourth will leave at 6:30am.  Most commuters who need to be at the office by 8:30am will have already left by the time the Meet the Management session is scheduled.  So we’re left with sessions that are still rather difficult for most commuters to attend.

I’ve made a recommendation to MBCR, and I hope they take it seriously.

Why not have sessions on the train?

MBCR could announce that the management would be on the last car (the handicapped-accessible one) of a certain train and be available for comment.  That way, commuters don’t have to spend any extra time at a meeting (they’d just be using their commute time) and commuters from other stations (Grafton, Westboro, Southboro, etc.) would have access to make comments.

CWW: Westboro Public Library book sale

The Friends of the Westborough Public Library will hold a booksale in the Forbes Building from Thursday, May 17 through Sunday, May 20. The hours are:

* Thursday, May 17: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
* Friday, May 18: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
* Saturday, May 19: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
* Sunday, May 20: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The Forbes Building is next to the library on the corner of Parkman and West Main Streets (where the Police Station is located).