I am supposed to be doing other things this summer, like replacing the lost (also nonexistent) income from Web accessibility, now that I am retired from that field. Another book is in progress, and I am now a full 1½ months behind in writing it.

What have I been doing instead? TTC fucking signs.

The campaign (q.v.) has been going well. I scored a partial victory in that the old Paul Arthur signs will not be destroyed. In what is probably not a wilful misinterpretation but one of those nonetheless, TTC will simply leave them in place for another umpteen years even though they are merely a prototype from 14 years ago.

But in other ways, nothing has changed. No matter what you ask the TTC, the answer is “We have a sign standard and we install signs like those in new and refurbished stations.” You could be asking them what the square root of 64 is and that would still be the answer. It’s worse than talking with the taxman about poetry; it’s like talking with a Rajneeshi, or an Objectivist.

There’s been coverage:

You can follow it all by . Predictably, Steve Munro, whom we happily read for TTC operational critiques informed by decades of research and experience, has been a total dick, not to mention embarrassingly confused and uninformed. Maybe I should stop trying to say hello at TTC meetings.

By far the most important piece was by Ed Keenan in Eye. I have an open-and-shut case and that’s how he reports it.

How devastating to read in print for the first time that the manager who approved the original Sheppard signs can’t understand them himself. (He “now finds himself getting lost trying to navigate using them. This system, which confounds even the former TTC executive who oversaw its development, is now the TTC standard.”)

Ed and I carried out a signage tour last Monday in the 32° heat. (Yes, he wears Spacing subway buttons. I HAS BIAS?) Amazingly, I stood around waiting for him at the wrong end of the Bloor platform. (Also amazingly, the 25-year-old GM Classic bus I was forced to ride to get there had its heat on.) Also amazingly for a system notorious for previous overzealousness in nailing amateur photographers trying to shoot the damned subway, we were swarmed by TTC personnel… and nothing happened.

  • While standing under the troublesome sign at Bathurst, three guys walked all around us while Ed held his notebook.
  • Upstairs, a special-constable cruiser pulled up. The guy ignored us, so I walked over and asked him if he’d ever gotten a certain kind of question about signage. Nope. (His partneuse merely looked at us and seemed to be in a rush.)
  • While deconstructing yet another signage atrocity, one of the supervisors from the Museum subway diversion walked by. (And boy, was it ever the right supervisor – the short, 28-year-old Italian guy who pings with competence and intelligence. If you somehow cannot manage to stand in front of a red-haired Italian with a perfect Roman nose, this is the kind of Italian to put in second place.) I told him where I knew him from and asked him – twice – if there had been any discusion of Museum signage after the event. No, we’re more reactive than proactive, he said. (I also told him the TTC’s standard winter clothing does not suit a man of his stature.)

(In fairness, we weren’t shooting pictures, but Ed had a notebook and voice recorder out.)

Ed has taken advantage of the Web to write a megamix blog post about our signage tour.

Now we come to the problem. Ed quotes Giambrone thus: “Other signage issues aside, I have not been advised that the current standard itself is a problem, except, of course, by Joe Clark.”

I could go off on a tangent here. Haven’t we already established that the manager who approved the whole system cannot use it? Which exact person’s opinions will his employees listen to? Obviously not mine; this too has come down from on high. (I tried to talk about this with the closest thing to a Giambrone spokesperson at the station-modernization launch today; that guy acted like a total tool and suggested I complain to the Integrity Commissioner.)

Instead of doing all that, let me just sum up what has happened in a few simple words. In essence, affable, under-30, Mac-using, suntanned, beloved Adam Giambrone is calling me a kook.

Well, no more Mr. Nice Girl.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.07.12 18:44. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

(Values you enter are stored and may be published)



None. I quit.

Copyright © 2004–2024