Friday, December 10, 2010

More On Wayfinding Signs

I wrote about the new way-finding signs back in the middle of October. Then it was about my feelings on the arrangement of the destinations and how they differ from the standards of the Federal government. Today, I wonder about the decision to put all the locations on ONE single panel of the sign and not separate panels for each.

When these signs were first discussed, I thought that they were envisioned as standard sized, individual destination panels which could be assembled into a larger unit and displayed on some kind of a support system. This would allow new destinations to be added should they be built and changes in the naming of those which sometimes do so.

This arrangement was clearly NOT followed and now we are beginning to see the fallacy of not doing so.

These signs are designed specifically for automobile traffic, even those in the downtown area. They are only readable from the side facing the oncoming traffic. Should you be walking along the new sidewalks we just built, but going the opposite way of the autos, these signs are useless. Pedestrians can use these signs only a small portion of the time.

I have already pointed out that they lack any approximate distances or correct order of destination, but for pedestrians this is crucial information. The signs out around New Circle Rd. (definitely auto-centric) and the one right downtown (should be urban friendly) are identical.

Lexington really does want to expand its downtown destinations and points of interest, but these signs are designed to be a point in time system. Where is the flexibility to add new points, especially those which would fall in between existing ones? What would happen if one of the points were to undergo a naming change?

A name change? Well we will see about that very soon. It looks like our Lexington Legends will be renaming the old ball park next year when the agreement with Applebee’s expires. I guess that no one saw that coming.

I have also noticed a lack of any destinations other than historical or entertainment type points of interest. Do we not want anyone to find our civic or legislative buildings, specifically for those who are new in town?

I heard someone, the other day, refer to these signs as “for the WEG”. I believe that this proposal was in the Downtown Master Plan as something that should be done and not just for downtown. Most of the proposed signs were not up for the WEG, nor are they all up today. The thoughts behind this project meant well but the way that it has been implemented leaves a little to be desired. The money has been spent (and mostly out of town) but it may not be too late to salvage the entire program. Maybe some of our local sign makers can suggest a way to “not throw out the baby with the bathwater” and, using the current poles and bases, design a better solution. I don’t mean do it gratis either.

If we are going to do a way finding system, then lets do it right.


PJWB said...

I wonder how many signs say "Applebee's Park"? A name which will soon be no more...

Aaron German said...

Today's Herald Leader (1/22/2011) had a small article about the wayfinding signs needing to be changed due to the name change of the baseball stadium. I've pasted it below. The address to the entire article can be found at the end of this post.

"The switch from Applebee's Park to Whitaker Bank Ballpark will mean sign changes at more than just the stadium along North Broadway.
During the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the city installed signs throughout the area pointing to major tourist attractions including what was then Applebee's Park.

"Nine signs mention the stadium and need to be changed.

"The Legends will pay for the alterations, said Kevin Wente, public works administrative officer with the city.

"A local contractor has been hired, he said, to pick up the nine signs and replace the Applebee's Park lettering.

"It won't be easy, Wente said. The adhesive used on the letters is stronger than the adhesive used on the clear coat underneath them, so the clear coat is being pulled off, too. "We've got to find a way to correct that," he said."

Read more:

Aaron German said...

Ooops. The date of the paper was 1/21/2011.

Streetsweeper said...

Thanks Aaron, I saw that. Nine signs will have to be altered just for this name change alone. This change will be effective for ten years but what other attractions may have the possibility of change in those years? The Legends apparently volunteered to pay for the adjustments (no matter how expensive)but what precedent does it set for others, especially the non-profits should they choose to re-brand themselves. This is why I wrote that the design of the basic sign is flawed. We should be allowed to replace the erroneous portion and not the entire sign face.