Wednesday, 14 April 2010

ampelmännchen

During a not-unheard-of seizure of common-sense, Germany's traffic ministry yesterday rescinded a proposal that called for municipalities to replace out-dated traffic signage with new, modern versions, identical in regulation but with some subtle differences in ideograms.  For instance, a crosswalk should no longer bear the likeness of a man scurrying across the street, hand on hat to keep it in place, but rather the more modern, gender neutral stick figure.  Directional arrows indicating no parking should be displayed on the top and not the bottom of the circular sign, as they were prior to 1992. 
On coming cars, apparently, should not have smiley faces.  By not enforcing the change, German municipalities have saved hundreds of millions of euro, and kept the Ampelmaennchen safe for years to come.