Half of Belgian street name signs are illegible or gone

Half of Belgian street name signs are illegible or gone

One in two streets in Belgium has an illegible or even no street name sign, according to a sample of 50 cities.

Insurance company Touring determined reached this conclusion this after recording samples in 50 cities and municipalities. The company received 255 reports in 2017, and 301 in the following year. "Half of the signs are old and illegible, or sometimes just gone," said Touring spokesperson Danny Smagghe. That is around the same number as with their previous count, five years ago. "There is no improvement, even though the municipalities are obligated to have readable street name signs in clearly visible places," he added.

While signs may seem no longer necessary in times of GPS, they are certainly not useless, stressed Touring. "Certainly for emergency services. It is a means of control to see whether their GPS has sent them the correct way. Every minute is precious in those cases. But other road users also need those signs: don't just assume that everyone has a GPS."

According to Smagghe, the fact that there is not a sign on every corner is because houses are being demolished for new construction projects, reports Het Nieuwsblad. The street names are disappearing, but not being replaced afterwards. "Moreover, local authorities only have a limited budget for maintenance," he added.

The Flemish Association for Cities and Municipalities is aware of the problem. "Administrators would certainly not save money on this, because they know it causes irritation to passers-by," said spokesperson Nathalie Debast. "We ask people to report it if a sign is missing somewhere," she added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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