Wayfinding signs likely to be erected next month

Published 6:57 pm Monday, January 30, 2017

As Washington implements its wayfinding project, it will need approval on where to place some of the signs from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

“The request for wayfinding signs along NC DOT (rights of way) must be submitted in writing to the appropriate Division Engineer. A plan clearly showing requested sign locations and messages (layouts), and sign support designs for each location must be submitted with the request,” John Rodman, the city’s director of community and cultural services, wrote in a memorandum to the mayor and City Council members. “The plan should also specify all existing signs that will be removed due to the implementation of this request. Any additional components (other than roadway signs) of the wayfinding effort that are proposed to be implemented with the roadway signage should also be specified in the request.”

The division engineer uses this information to evaluate the request for roadway signs and determine whether the request is approved, according to Rodman. The city’s was submitted to DOT in December 2016. It is under review.

In August 2016, the Washington City Council unanimously voted to award a $138,126 contract to ACSM Inc. to provide wayfinding signs for phase 1A and phase 1B of the signage project. Initially, the council was scheduled to consider awarding a $93,001 contract for phase 1A.

The city has been pursuing its wayfinding program for several years. Currently, the city has about $150,000 available for the signs.

Meanwhile, the signs going up in the city’s rights of way have been manufactured. The digging of footers for those signs is imminent, according to Rodman. “I’m waiting on that call anytime now,” Rodman said Monday. ACSM anticipates placement of signs along DOT rights of way could begin sometime next month, according to a city document.

The city received bids ranging from a low of $82,000 to a high of $186,000. City staff is evaluating those bids. ACSM was the second-lowest bidder, but the council chose the company because, in the council’s estimation, it would provide the city with higher-quality signs than other bidders.

The City Council, during its May 23 meeting, authorized city staff and the Washington Harbor District Alliance to search for an entity to provide the signs, part of the city’s effort to make it easier for visitors and others to find specific places in the city, especially in the waterfront and downtown areas. Late last year, the council decided to wait until this year to make a decision regarding funding of the city’s wayfinding project. During its Nov. 9, 2015, meeting, the council balked at allocating $101,606 for 24 signs that are part of a recommended overall sign project consisting of 84 signs — including gateway, directional and parking signs. The project, as presented then, would have been split into three phases because of its cost, according to a presentation made to the council in 2015.

The wayfinding strategies designed for Washington would improve traffic circulation (vehicles and pedestrians) in the city and direct visitor dollars to where they would have the most economic impact, according to Rodman.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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