Wayfinding in the DTO. Or, you know, not.

Is this sign new?


21 thoughts on “Wayfinding in the DTO. Or, you know, not.

  1. MJH

    They appear to have the Visitors Bureau in the wrong location. The photo has a straight ahead arrow and OCVB is at 11th Street.

  2. dto510

    And where is Chinatown, or Old Oakland? Not everyone who needs a sign is going to City Hall. It’s a nice design, though.

  3. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    I think their reasoning for not putting Old Oakland or Chinatown on that particular sign has to do with location. Both are behind the photographer.

    This is next to De Lauer’s right? I’m of two minds on that. I can’t help but think the chances for survival would be better if the location was changed, but on the other hand I’d like to see downtown thrive again. Not just be the gathering spot for the homeless.

  4. Becks

    Yeah – seems pretty pointless to me. From that point of view, it’s hard to miss City Hall. There are a lot of more relevant destinations they could have put on the sign.

  5. V Smoothe Post author

    You’d think. Although I once was waiting to cross the street at the corner of 14th and Broadway in front of Tully’s, and this totally lost looking man came up to me and asked me if I knew where City Hall was.

  6. Steve

    Very nice design. But if there’s not another sign closer to the corner of 14th & Broadway pointing left, won’t this lead people north up Broadway, right past city hall?

    If this is part of a larger network of signs, that would be great.

  7. Steve

    Oh, at fist I thought this was just before the 14th & Broad intersection, but it looks like it’s just before 13th & Broadway. So the sign makes more sense.

  8. Max Allstadt

    Is that sign telling me to get to city hall by walking up the wrong side of Broadway, straight past where I’d cross to go to city hall?

    In other news: Edgerly was fired today. Yup. Fired. Apparently she pushed Dellums too far. After he put her on administrative leave, she decided to postpone her retirement. Apparently she can’t take a hint. Now she’s threatening to sue. The plot thicks.

  9. snappingturtle

    A similar looking sign appeared a few days ago at 8th and Oak, so I think it is part of a network of signs. Not sure if these are test installations or just the first part of a full-on rollout.

  10. V Smoothe Post author

    I think the signs are part of BART’s bike/ped signage pilot project. A quick search didn’t turn up anything about it on their website. They made a presentation about it with respect to the MacArthur station at April’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting.

  11. Michael Hunt

    According to my colleague in City Hall – who had a conversation with Jason Patton (Dep. Director of Planning) – the sign project was bundled with the Chinatown Streetscape project centered on Webster and Franklin Streets between 8th and 9th. The signs connect all the way to 14th & Broadway and to the Lake Merritt BART station. It’s a joint project between BART, the City, and the Chinatown Community. I will try to gather more information about this, but that’s the best I can do at this point.

    Michael Hunt
    Communications Department
    Office of the Mayor

  12. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Wow communications! That’s very cool!

    I assume that this is part of the lovely crosswalks in Chinatown. Have you seen them? My best friend was in town over the weekend from Seattle and she was impressed.

    I couldn’t help but wonder who paid for it… because there are other crosswalks that we’d love to see around town. Nothing that fancy, just a simple crosswalk.

  13. Mychal McCabe

    Just chiming in… noticed a similar sign biking past the Lake Merritt BART stop and toward Chinatown this morning. The stripe on the sign I saw was red.

    Figured some of the funding for the Chinatown streetscape had to come from the community, some of the details are lovely.

  14. Jason Patton


    The signs are part of the Chinatown Streetscape Project that is nearing the end of construction (as of 3-Jul-08). The bilingual pedestrian wayfinding signs were developed in 2004-2005 as a collaborative project between BART, the City of Oakland, and the Chinatown community (facilitated by Asian Health Services and the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce). Studio L’Image was the consultant that developed the sign design and overall wayfinding system. Major funding for the streetscape project was provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) program and Measure B pedestrian/bicycle funds administered by the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA).

    Documentation on the wayfinding signs is available from this page: http://www.oaklandbikes.info/Page130.aspx (4.2 mb file). The wayfinding system includes signs at 41 locations that connect the Chinatown core to the Lake Merritt and 12th St BART stations. Signs extend from Broadway at 14th St to (roughly) Oak St at 8th St. The system is built along two main axes: 8th St/9th St and Broadway. In Chinatown, the signs have a red color band while outside of Chinatown they have a green band. In the Chinatown core, the directional signs are paired with an additional sign that has a neighborhood-specific image. In developing this framework, the intent was that similar systems could be developed for other neighborhoods using the same overall layout and design but with a custom color and an image unique to each neighborhood. BART and the City of Oakland are currently collaborating on a similar wayfinding system for the MacArthur BART vicinity.

    Go take a walk and let us know what you think – both what you do and don’t like. There are a thousand details and many constraints that brought us to the final design that’s now on the street. The project is our best effort to enliven Chinatown, serve BART, contribute to downtown, and promote walking.

    Jason Patton
    Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager
    City of Oakland, Transportation Services Division

  15. V Smoothe Post author

    Thank you so much for the information, Michael and Jason.

    Also, in response to Joanna’s comment way upthread, I took another picture of the sign from the other direction yesterday. That side of the sign points to Chinatown, the Ferry Terminal, Jack London Square, and Old Oakland.

    And yes, those crosswalks really are beautiful.