The Pittsburgh Art Commission on Wednesday approved part of a major pedestrian wayfinding project, but will continue to review part of the project that has concerned some commissioners.
The wayfinding project aims to encourage residents and tourists to explore neighborhoods and visit local landmarks, said Kathryn Schlesinger, senior mobility project manager at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
The project will bring over 50 kiosks and 110 directional signs to busy parts of the city. Nearly half of them will be located downtown, about a quarter of them will be in Oakland, and the rest will be on the North Rim or North Side, according to Schlesinger.
Commissioners expressed concern that so many panels could create an eyesore.
“You need to have enough so people don’t get lost and confused,” said the city’s director of mobility and infrastructure, Kim Lucas, explaining that reducing the number of signs could make the initiative less effective.
Chris Watts, vice president of district development for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, said the organization carefully considered whether signs and kiosks interfered with pedestrians, caused unnecessary clutter or posed other problems.
Commissioners said they were comfortable with the signs placed on the existing posts, which make up about two-thirds of the signs.
“The other third, I thought, was questionable,” Commission Chairman Andrew Moss said.
Commissioners voted to approve signs on existing poles, while delaying approval of signs that would require new poles, as well as kiosks.
“We will strive to have a re-examination as timely as possible, hopefully next month,” Moss said.
Watts offered to provide further information to the commissioners on how they decided where the kiosks and signs would go and which could not be affixed to the existing posts.
“There were a number of signs that were within 10 feet of a traffic light or a sign post,” said commissioner Vivian Loftness, explaining that she would like to know if these signs could be placed on existing poles.
She also suggested that the commissioners consider whether any of the new poles proposed in the project would become an obstacle for pedestrians, create safety issues or obstruct the view of landmarks that people like to see and photograph.