New directory signs to help drivers find their way to the downtown core and other destination points are in the works and will coordinate with the downtown directory signs installed in October 2016, city planners said.
The new wayfinding signs are geared toward drivers, while the downtown directory signs are intended to help pedestrians find specific shops, restaurants and tasting rooms.
“As far as I can tell (the pedestrian-oriented signs) have been very popular. I see people referring to them quite frequently,” said Lynn Goldberg, planning and building director. “This was one piece of our master plan for making the community (easier) for visitors to access.”
Using a “bread crumb” approach, signs will be placed at the city entrances to help guide them into town and then signs sprinkled on Lincoln Avenue and Washington Street will lead drivers to the most popular visitor destinations.
Currently there are some signs intended to do the same thing, but they are inadequate and will be replaced by the new signs. The Caltrans sign at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Petrified Forest Road pointing the way to Calistoga doesn’t give drivers enough notice to prepare for the turn. In some cases the font is not large enough to be seen by a driver moving at 25 or 30 miles per hour.
“I would defy you to try to read (that sign) if you were in a vehicle approaching the intersection,” Goldberg said to the planning commission when she was delivering her presentation of the sign program.
The new primary signs at the city entrance points will be placed far enough away from intersections for people to know in advance of the intersection which way they need to go with three major areas of interest: historic downtown, visitor information, and Fairgrounds.
Along Lincoln and Washington the signs will get a little more specific, still oriented to vehicles, pointing to such things as public parking, public restrooms, Community Center, museum and post office. To ensure drivers know they are headed in the right direction outside of the downtown core, signs along Washington, for example, would say something like Fairgrounds, RV campground or Logvy Park/pool.
“You can’t direct them to every place in Calistoga,” so the signs will indicate the most common destinations a visitor might be trying to find, Goldberg said.
Smaller “arrival” signs will be placed at such places as public parking and restroom locations, she said.
The city is working with the same designer and the visitor center in creating the signs. They will have the same look and feel as the pedestrian-oriented signs, and incorporate the Calistoga logo.
“I particularly like the little squiggle thing at the top. Because when you’ve seen the first sign and you’ve seen the squiggle now every time you see the squiggle you know it’s a sign. I kind of like the idea that it draws your attention,” said Tim Wilkes, planning commissioner, who said he gets “parades of lost people on my street on the weekends” and hopes these signs will help them find their way, Wilkes said.
Walter Abernathy, planning commissioner, said he walks for exercise every day and gets stopped frequently by people asking for directions, showing the need for the wayfinding signs.