The Capital of the World is going lower-case.
Federal copy editors are demanding the city change its 250,900 street signs -- such as these for Perry Avenue in The Bronx -- from the all-caps style used for more than a century to ones that capitalize only the first letters.
Changing BROADWAY to Broadway will save lives, the Federal Highway Administration contends in its updated Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, citing improved readability.
At $110 per sign, it will also cost the state $27.6 million, city officials said.
"We have already started replacing the signs in The Bronx," city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told The Post. 'We will have 11,000 done by the end of this fiscal year, and the rest finished by 2018."
It appears e.e. cummings was right to eschew capital letters, federal officials explain.
Studies have shown that it is harder to read all-caps signs, and those extra milliseconds spent staring away from the road have been shown to increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly among older drivers, federal documents say.
The new regulations also require a change in font from the standard highway typeface to Clearview, which was specially developed for this purpose.
As a result, even numbered street signs will have to be replaced.
"Safety is this department's top priority," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said last year, in support of the new guidelines. "These new and updated standards will help make our nation's roads and bridges safer for drivers, construction workers and pedestrians alike."
The Highway Administration acknowledged that New York and other states "opposed the change, and suggested that the use of all upper-case letters remain an option," noting that "while the mixed-case words might be easier to read, the amount of improvement in legibility did not justify the cost."
To compensate for those concerns, in 2003, the administration allowed for a 15-year
phase-in period ending in 2018.
Although the city did not begin replacing the signs until earlier this year, Sadik-Khan said they will have no trouble meeting the deadline, as some 8,000 signs a year are replaced annually simply due to wear and tear.
The new diminutive signs, which will also feature new reflective sheeting, may also reflect a kinder, gentler New York, she said.
"On the Internet, writing in all caps means you are shouting," she said. "Our new signs can quiet down, as well."