What a difference 90 degrees makes.
One of the new, colorful sign poles pointing people to downtown Omaha attractions went up at 13th Street and Capitol Avenue last week.
It points the way to the CenturyLink Center Omaha, TD Ameritrade Park, Film Streams, Hot Shops Art Center, Creighton University, the riverfront and other attractions.
The directional arrow for Creighton points east down Capitol Avenue instead of the correct way, north on 13th — perhaps pointing Creighton's way to the Big East? Unknowing pedestrians who blindly follow the sign could end up in the Missouri River.
John Sova, principal at RDG Planning & Design, which helped develop the system, said the sign would be corrected.
“We have 44 different pole locations and about 23 sign faces. We have 30 poles installed, and this is only the second problem. That's not doing too bad,” he said Friday.
Sova said the other glitch was with a sign installed the wrong way on the pole at 13th and Jackson Streets.
The signs are a Downtown Omaha Wayfinding Project of the city and Downtown Improvement District. The 88-sign initiative involves signs directing pedestrians and drivers to more than two dozen notable Omaha institutions and attractions.
Among the destinations are Gene Leahy Mall, the Holland Performing Arts Center, Midtown Crossing, the north downtown area, the Omaha Children's Museum, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Half of the signs are large enough to be visible to motorists. Those are being placed as far south as Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, north to Abbott Drive, west to Midtown Crossing and east to the Interstate ramp that joins Omaha and Council Bluffs. Smaller, pedestrian-friendly signs are downtown and around the Old Market.
Officials said the signs should help newcomers to Omaha as well as people who already spend time downtown. They hope the additional information and directions will encourage more people to walk and check out new destinations.
The $800,000 project has been in the works since 2005, but organizers didn't begin developing the system until late 2011. Funding was provided by the Downtown Improvement District, Mutual of Omaha, Midtown Crossing, First National Bank and other donors. The City of Omaha chipped in $100,000.
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