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Downtown sign agreement a good deal

I like the design of the proposed new signs to be placed in downtown Atascadero, so-called “wayfinding” signage to help you find some of those smaller retailers off El Camino Real or over on Traffic Way.

You may remember those mock-up wayfinding signs placed at three different locations last year. Most everyone agreed that those signs were just too large for the downtown “Colony District.”

The primary goal of the city and Main Street has been to lead shoppers to those shops. The merchants in the area claim nobody knows they are there.

Now it appears that the city has come up with some signage for the downtown core that everyone likes. There will be an attempt to label Entrada Avenue from El Camino Real to Palma as the “Shops on Entrada,” and Traffic Way stores will be known as “Shops on Traffic.”

I don’t understand why they’ve dropped “Way” out of the picture. The Entrada district should go all the way to Lewis Avenue because someday those buildings, now residential dwelling units, will become valuable retail space, too. That would make it consistent with Traffic Way, only a block away, which extends to Lewis Avenue.

What has me excited is that Main Street has agreed to not only maintain the new signage, but police non-conforming signs such as the A-frame signs, which can only be placed in front of the businesses they are advertising, not a block away on a public sidewalk like they are now.

Not even formal complaints against those signs over the past several years by me have been able to get them removed. My cynical side sees those same illegal A-frame signs being chained to the new wayfinding signs. I hope this doesn’t happen.

Readers can help, too, by pointing out illegal signs to the city and Main Street.

The city will provide 12-foot lighted decorative street signs, which will be topped by the attractive bronze medallion that carries the city logo. The exact locations haven’t been determined.

In addition, lighted 3-by-7-foot kiosks sitting on a 7-foot pole will list individual business nearby. Each sign will have tempered glass doors that allow access to add and remove business names.

The cost to the taxpayers is a little over $48,000 for these downtown signs.

Because of the uniqueness of the signs, the city won’t be going to bid but will award the job to Signs of Success, Inc. in order to maintain consistency with all the other new signs throughout downtown.

The city’s purchasing policy allows for this exception to the normal bidding process.

Sounds like another step forward for Atascadero’s downtown district.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly four decades. His column appears here every week. He can be reached at 466-8529 or