A committee appointed to develop new pedestrian signs for the borough has determined 13 locations for them and as many as 21 landmarks they’ll point to.
As envisioned, the signs will be akin to signposts in Britain, with a dozen or more signs about the size of street signs – pointed on one end to show direction -- attached to a single pole.
The design is the work of a committee recently appointed by Haines Borough manager Mark Earnest. Its members include planning commissioners Rob Goldberg and Andy Hedden, Judy Heinmiller, Ned Rozbicki, Lori Stepansky and Greg Schlachter.
The signs – which may be capped with a raven or a Tlingit tinaa that could be seen from a distance -- would be located on the inside of sidewalks and be removable from their base for winter storage. Most will be located near the waterfront between Port Chilkoot Dock and Main Street.
"Street signs take a beating and aren’t in the right place for pedestrians," explained committee member Goldberg. "We’d like the signs to be taken down for winter. What still remains to be seen is (state) DOT permitting." Many of the signs would be on state road rights-of-way.
Locations of signs include the Port Chilkoot Dock, Visitor’s Center, five locations along Front Street South, and along Main Street, Old Haines Highway, and Second and Third avenues.
Landmarks they’d point to would include downtown, post office, clinic, bank, library, museums, bald eagle foundation, nearest restrooms, Ripinsky and Battery Point trailheads, Fort Seward, Alaska Indian Arts, Chilkat Center, Tlingit Park, Fort Seward, ballfields, boat harbor, Visitor’s Center, Port Chilkoot Dock, and the fairgrounds.
Poles at the Visitor’s Center and dock would be attached with signs for each landmark, while others would have fewer, Goldberg said. Each sign also would show a symbol – such as a dollar sign for the bank – to help foreign language speakers understand them.
Sign locations between the dock and Main Street were chosen to be within view of each other, Goldberg said. "To determine where to put them, we looked around like we were new in town (and) we’ve never been here before. Our goal in putting up these signs is to make it really hard to get lost."
The committee discussed ways to make the signs inexpensively, including using standard materials. While about 200 individual, 4" by 18" signs would likely have to be sent out for manufacture, much of the rest of the signs could be assembled here, Goldberg said.
Manager Earnest said this week the design was "great," particularly that signposts could be removed. "The concern is snow and wind" as well as damage from plowing. "A lot of our signs around town are creased."
The signage plan must still be approved by the borough assembly. It’s the first step in carrying out recommendations made by downtown planners.
Next comes the job of developing five larger signs at key intersections around town for motorists. Goldberg said a rebuilt intersection at Young and Lutak roads may be a good candidate for a larger, "Welcome to Haines" sign.