Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wayfinding Denied

The results are in for the District 33 Participatory Budgeting initiative, and the Atlantic Avenue Gateway proposal was not one of this year's five lucky winners.  Last year, with their project "Funderpass," the Atlantic Avenue BID won a $75,000 BID Challenge grant to redesign the BQE underpass to include a "bike service station, seating, lighting improvements, prominent wayfinding signage, and wall murals," and to create "a seamless exciting experience" for the pedestrian who must venture through it .  Participatory budgeting money ($500,000) would have enabled the implementation of many elements of the approved design, but I imagine funding will eventually come from other sources.  Certainly a modest lighting upgrade wouldn't hurt.

I can't say I was overly upset about this outcome though, skeptical as I was about a BQE Funderpass (I think it should have some exclamation points added !!!), but the project outline did make me curious about the vogue for "wayfinding" initiatives, which pop up all over the place these days in urban design circles, & don't seem to involve much more than the installation of a few maps and signs.  Somehow the term itself (wayfinding!) conjurs a vision of a timid populace, looking for a funderful time but entirely witless when it comes to making their way around city streets.  And it makes me thankful for the hardy Lewises & Clarks who currently brave a dark and lawless passage at the edge of Brooklyn Heights with NO IDEA that the BQE divides a newish park from a handsome retail avenue.  Reader, I too have traversed this wild terrain.

No comments: