One feature of the new downtown streetscape that keeps being promised as coming soon will be a whole lot more signs.

The Greensboro City Council has long had a Jekyll and Hyde attitude about signage.  Commercial signage is ugly, clutters up the streets and should be restricted as much as possible.  Governmental signage by contrast is lovely and adds character and beauty to the area.

The streetscape plan is to add these lovely government signs pretty much everywhere downtown.  All of those colorful spots on the satellite photo are proposed government sign locations.

For people who want to find a government location, there will be a wealth of signs and arrows.  One proposed sign has “Downtown,” “UNCG,” “Lindley Park” and “Arboretum.”

So, if your looking for a park bench, plants, education or a bunch of buildings you are in luck.  However, none of the examples in the Wayfinding presentation give any indication of where someone might buy a cup of coffee, sit down and eat a meal or purchase something from a private business.

The Wayfinding presentation was the first item on the agenda for the Tuesday, March 2 City Council work session.  However, the agenda was reversed.  The report on the Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) program was heard first and the City Council decided to postpone the report on the Wayfinding plan until an unspecified later date.

The City Council is constantly talking about how it supports small business and, in particular, downtown businesses.  But judging from the “WayFinding Master Plan,” what the city plans to do is populate the city, in particular the downtown area, with hundreds of signs advertising government facilities, but no privately owned facilities.

The Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts will no doubt be featured on a multitude of signs, since it is a government facility.  But, at least according to the master plan presentation, none of the privately owned and operated entertainment venues will be featured on a single government sign.

According to the Wayfinding master plan, the city intends to install monument signs, pole signs both for pedestrians and vehicular traffic, totem signs, pedestrian oriented signs – both wall mounted and stand alone – all to advertise government facilities with the exception of the downtown area. 

The plan calls for large brick monument signs announcing that people are entering “Downtown Greensboro.”  Where these signs will be placed could prove to be entertaining, since there are differing views on what exactly constitutes the downtown.