It only lasted about five weeks but it got a lot of attention, both locally and internationally. It seems like a really good idea and something that could find some legs around here. It is the brainchild of a graduate student majoring in landscape architecture and in urban planning.
It did not happen here in Lexington.
It, is a grassroots effort to demonstrate to residents the ease of walking to various destinations and has linking to a smart phone app from which they get directions and an estimated walking time. It is a way to incorporate the pedestrian into the wayfinding methods of the city. It was apparently also illegal and stopped by the Planning Director.
"Walk Raleigh" was started by graduate student Matt Tomasulo and some friends as a way to get pedestrians into a more integrated utilization of the City of Raleigh, N. C. Raleigh has a wayfinding system, as does Lexington, but it as basically geared toward the automobile as is Lexington's. Involving the pedestrian seems to be of lesser concern to most city governments, so many of us walkers have to fend for ourselves. In Raleigh, one has to get permission to put up a sign, and as always with governments, some locations may be disapproved or prohibited outright. That takes the spontaneity right out of it for the masses.
I have written about the wayfinding signs here in Lexington and detailed some of the faults which I, and others, have noticed. The fact that our and other wayfinding systems are geared for the motorist stands out as(to my mind) the greatest fault. Now I ask, what effort should we, as the residents of a very walkable downtown, do to enhance the present wayfinding setup?
Last week, Dhiru Thadani, the prime author of the Downtown Master Plan reiterated, in his remarks to the 2012 Lafayette Seminar, that Lexington has a walkable downtown, and that even beyond the limits of the central business area the walkability continues. I did not hear anyone ask if we needed to do more for our wayfinding system nor did I hear Dr. Blues speak of doing more for anything but the Design Excellence group's work on the development standards for downtown. We seem to be planning for more people on the streets on downtown, yet are leaving with an auto-centric signage system. Perhaps the Master Plan is still coming up a little short. I hope that our new Commissioner of Planning could do a bit more in that regard.
On a side note, I read last week that the Colt trolley arrangement is getting a facelift and finally thinking of using Short St (as I suggested back in 2009) instead of Vine St. Maybe late is just a little better than never.