Normative Signs: The Poetry of "Ought"

In which the author finds beauty in how people tell other people what to do.

How wide is your vehicle?

no_wide_vehiclesThis one is from an alley near my home in Toronto. How many people do you think can tell you how wide their vehicle is, in metres?

No Parking: Snow Route

no_parking_snowThis is on a street in Toronto. Most of the lamp-posts along this street have “No Parking” signs. A few of them — maybe every third post — have additional signs saying why you’re not allowed to park there, namely because it’s a Snow Route, a road that gets priority snow-removal during especially big snowfalls.

In general, it’s helpful to let people know the rationale behind important policies, so they don’t fall prey to the assumption that those policies are arbitrary or stupid. It’s often hard to do that with street signs, where the obvious priority is to be brief.