Atlanta Streetcar route on track to receive new wayfinding signs

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.

Atlanta's Urban Design Commission is slated to consider plans to improve wayfinding signs along Auburn Avenue. Credit: atlantadowntown.com

Atlanta’s Urban Design Commission is slated to consider plans to improve wayfinding signs along Auburn Avenue. Credit: atlantadowntown.com

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.

This neon blue concept is one of three original proposals for improving the Auburn Avenue underpass at the Downtown Connector. A final version was crafted following public comment. Credit: atlantadowntown.com

This neon blue concept is one of three original proposals for improving the Auburn Avenue underpass at the Downtown Connector. A final version was crafted following public comment. Credit: atlantadowntown.com

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.”
Historic marker at The Atlanta Daily World

The planned wayfinding signage along Auburn Avenue is expected to improve upon existing signs, such as this marker at the building that once housed The Atlanta Daily World. File/Credit: Donita Pendered

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.”

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

2 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.