By David Pendered
Historic sites along a portion of the Atlanta Streetcar’s route will be better marked if the plan to install wayfinding signs wins expected approval from Atlanta’s Urban Design Commission.
The UDC is slated to consider the application to install the signs at its Sept. 24 meeting. The proposal calls for new signs to be installed at a series of addresses along Auburn Avenue.
The start date for the streetcar’s operation has not been finalized. Mayor Kasim Reed has said he expects the system to begin before Dec. 31. The system still is being tested and evaluated by the appropriate governmental entities.
The signs are a project of the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, which was started in 1995 by Central Atlanta Progress to promote downtown Atlanta as a livable community. The timeline for installation was not readily available Saturday.
Details of the proposed signage were not included in the UDC agenda item, which says the Atlanta DID is seeking a review and comment of the project, nor were they readily available on the Atlanta DID’s website.
An older entry on the DID site references the open house convened in December 2013 to gather public comments on three concepts for improving the aesthetics of the underpass by which Auburn Avenue crosses beneath I-75/85.
The same entry also provides this description of the wayfinding project along Auburn Avenue:
- “Existing historic markers and signs along Auburn Avenue are damaged, inconsistent and uncoordinated. They lack a cohesive neighborhood identity and character….
- “The project area encompasses the sidewalks along Auburn Avenue between Peachtree Street and Old Wheat Street. The focus of the enhancements includes improvements to the corridor’s wayfinding and signage elements. The project will review and improve existing signs to identify relevant ‘missing’ information that will be added to the series. Existing broken, faded and missing signs will be replaced with improved historical content and cultural information.
- “The enhancements will also feature notable improvements to the I-75/85 bridge underpass intended to make the currently dark and dingy environment more engaging and bright. The project will also support the impending Atlanta Streetcar through the inclusion of signs and interpretive information related to Atlanta’s transit history to be located at its maintenance facility at the I-75/85 underpass.”
CAP has been working for more than a decade to improve the wayfinding signage in downtown Atlanta. CAP also has partnered with the Midtown Alliance to improve signage to help people navigate the two distinct areas.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is helping to pay for the signs and the Atlanta Regional Commission helped pay to plan the signage with a grant provided through the Livable Centers Initiative.
Pulling together support and funding for projects such as the wayfinding signage has become an increasing aspect of CAP’s role, according to CAP President A.J. Robinson. In an interview published in the July edition of Georgia Trend, Robinson said:
- “We’ve become more active in the rise of improvement districts, using the precious resources we have to invest in the community as opposed to trying to get others to invest, either public or private. We’re invested in the Streetcar, streetscapes, invested in banners, wayfinding signs that in a perfect world ought to be coming from government. Another part of CAP has always been a convening mission – trying to bring people together in a collaborative way to solve issues. We’re a safe place where people can discuss and try to reason with each other. Diversity leads to a need for someone to help convene those diverse interests.”