The article does say that the Feds want NYC, and I assume every other town in America, to be totally converted by 2018. I didn't even know of this rule/requirement until now, and it's been on the books for 7 years already?!?!? Clearview was only a twinkle in a sign-maker's eye in 2003, so I would call shenanigans on the Clearview requirement as well.
Granted I have seen more municipalities moving over to Mixed-case over the last decade, but I never knew that it was part of a more "user-friendly" imaging campaign. Also explains why my town is slowly replacing blades (in ALL CAPS and showing a city logo on them) with more generic mixed caps lettering (Does this Federal mandate also prohibit the use of city logos -- like the Statue of Liberty in NYC -- on street blades as well???)
That style seen in the NYC photo looks so "cheap looking".
The Clearview comment in the article is indeed bogus. However, I think some DOTs, municipalities, etc. are going with the assumption that the Clearview font may one day be mandatory for all signs, which is why I think NYCDOT is going that route. On the flip side, NYCDOT replaces thousands of blade signs a year normally, so I don't find this to be a big deal as some people are making it out to be.
Also, I've noticed in some of the NYSDOT regions located in Upstate NY that are replacing blade signage with signs that contain mixed case font, but they are using FHWA Series B or C font, not Clearview. I don't think NYSDOT will convert to Clearview until they have to.
Finally, in my opinion, I don't think that blade signage replacement to mixed case font should have a set deadline to meet, but rather, the signage should be replaced with mixed case font when the signs are ready to be replaced. There are plenty of other things that could be fixed or replaced on the roads, and there's only so much money to go around.