New street signs are being put up throughout the city. They are supposed to be easier to read. But one local official likes not what he sees — the letters ‘R’ and ‘D’. He thinks “Lu” should replace “Rd” — this is China, after all. OK, fine … but why not bring this up before thousands of new signs were printed?
Using pinyin instead of English seems to be a trend of late. The recent name change of metro stations and buildings (Shanghaiist reported here and here) has at least taught many a wayward foreigner that “Century” is “Shiji” in pinyin. And the story linked to above says foreigners were in mind when the city’s street signs were designed:
Shanghai is looking for a resolution for its road signs so foreigners can recognize them, which is in line with the international practice and will meet the real needs of the city, said an official with local government.
But, really, if a foreigner can’t figure out what “Lu” means, reading street signs is the least of his problems. We are happy that Shanghai provides us with road names in Latin script, compared to some other cities in China. All we ask for is consistency. Rd or Lu, Tibet or Xizang, Wulumuqi or Urumqi, People’s or Renmin — make a choice and stick with it.