Dec 3 2012
11:37 pm

What: City to hold public meeting on Wayfinding
When: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 5:30pm
Where: Emporium, 100 Gay Street

Sorry for the short notice, but I haven't seen anything about this until the spouse mentioned it tonight. So I checked the City website, and there it was.

Here's the nut:

Officials from the City's Engineering Department and Office of Redevelopment will provide an update on the TDOT process for the Downtown Wayfinding Project.

The City has received a grant from TDOT to implement the Wayfinding system. The City has selected consultants Gresham Smith & Partners of Knoxville and Nashville to assist with meeting the environmental, right of way and construction documentation and review requirements of the TDOT Local Government Guidelines. The consultants will be on hand to provide a timeline and answer questions.

j.f.m.'s picture

Wayfinding, that is

Wayfinding, that is. To help wayfaring strangers find their way around.

Rachel's picture


Oops, it was late.

JMG's picture


I am amazed this requires such time and effort. I know it's been an ongoing discussion for at least 2-3 years. Seems like a no-brainer to me. How difficult can it be to put up a few signs that point to Market square. As always politics seem to take something simple and make it extremely complicated. Unfortunately, I have to work, otherwise it would be amusing to watch.
Sorry, but this is one of the things that has always bugged me about downtown.

Rachel's picture

Problem is that it's TDOT

Problem is that it's TDOT $$$, and that triggers a whole bunch of admin stuff. That's part of the reason for the delay.

I'm sure it will be explained tonight.

j.f.m.'s picture

More background

On the City's website: (link...).

Michael's picture

My Account

[Cross-posted from KnoxBlab.]

I constituted half of the "public" at the meeting. As for participation, I get the impression there's little for the public to participate in at this juncture, other than to be informed. That phase has passed.

My take away is that for the city to avoid having to come up with sufficient funding for the project on its own, it tapped TDOT. Securing that funding, as I understand it, was intended to permit the city to roll out the program in short order, rather than having to do it incrementally. Part of the result of that is that once it was subject to TDOT criteria, it likewise became subject to a litany of approvals from a mind-boggling litany of organizations from TDEC to TWRA.

The end result is that a program proposed and set in motion in 2008 is now expected to show some physical results by 2014. I'm not sure that the strategy has achieved it's goal of making this thing happen any faster. In fact, from what I could see, it has mired it's progress.

I will say that, while attending the meeting was illuminating, it was far from encouraging. I get that, as was explained last decade, "wayfinding" is a more holistic term than signage, but in the end, that's essentially how it manifests itself. And so, for downtown to replace/upgrade/correct it's signage, it has taken over 4 years to get to the point that, perhaps in only one more year, we will see some results.

It was a grand and depressing display of how astoundingly inefficient the world of bureaucracy is. And given how it has been shepherded to this point, I have serious concerns about the final product.

Meanwhile, when you exit Neyland Drive onto Hall of Fame, a city sign directing you to the Old City points toward the river, just as it has for years. Meanwhile we've invested years of delay to ostensibly avoid years of delay to correct that sort of thing.

bizgrrl's picture

Thanks, Michael. Part of the

Thanks, Michael.

Part of the City's wayfinding site has a map with an existing inventory of downtown signage. One of the first signs I clicked on was shown as being on Western Avenue right before 11th Street, although the notation said the sign is seen when traveling eastbound on Summit Hill. The sign indicates a person should turn right to go to the KMA, Worlds Fair Park, and the Convention Center. It also indicates a person should go straight to get to the University of Tennessee. Seems a little confusing on how to get to the Convention Center and UT.

Michael's picture


Looking at that map, every location I clicked on was from 2008. A lot of new signs have gone up since then, including several that popped up a few months ago directing people to the Visitor Center, and more recently, to mark bicycle routes. Signs have continued to appear while this program has ground along.

My understanding from the meeting is that all green directional signs around downtown will be eliminated and/or replaced as part of the program. But I'm guessing that may have been a misstatement.

JMG's picture

Thanks, Michael, I should

Thanks, Michael, I should have used bureaucracy instead of politics. I wonder if we could just have a few signs made and put them up ourselves (I've actually threaten this a couple of times)maybe some poster boards with magic markers. This might shame them into action.
Although I do kind of enjoy interacting with folks asking where Market square is, where the old city is and how to get to Neyland stadium and that's just standing in front of DTG&B.

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