For the third or forth time, the City of Morro Bay is spending money to help people find their way around town.
The City started a “Way-finding” sign project” on Sept. 30 hiring a company to install the new signs throughout the community, especially along entrances to the city.
The work is expected to wrap up sometime in November and readers are advised to watch for work trucks and crews out blocking the streets. Contractor for the work that will see 40-50 new directional signs installed, is Statewide Safety Systems of Nipomo.
The $200,000 contract is being paid for out of the City’s economic development fund, according to the project manager, Pamela Newman, who is with the engineering department.
“The project,” reads a news release from the City, “comes on the heels of engagement with the business community, Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, Morro Bay Tourism, Public Works Advisory Board and the Planning Commission.”
The “way-finding and parking signs help orient community members and visitors to key landmarks, facilities and parking areas throughout the City.”
Those consultations, “helped inform decisions about the type of signage and locations selected. The signage project will update, replace, and add way-finding signs throughout the city mainly in business districts.”
The Mayor is pretty happy. “We are excited,” Mayor John Headding said, “to see this project come to fruition, to support our local business community by guiding our residents and visitors to important landmarks and parking more seamlessly.”
This marks at least the fourth time the City has remade its directional signage. The original signs went in a long time ago and in the latter 1990s, the City replaced them with new, carved wooden signs pointing out destinations in town, such as the bay, Embarcadero, the beach and Morro Rock.
The City received some criticism from Downtown merchants because while the signs were strung throughout Downtown, all arrows pointed to the waterfront.
That prompted the city council at the time to have the signs modified to include a banner across the top that read, “Old Town,” but didn’t change the signs themselves.
Then in the mid-2000s, newly designed directional signs were install at strategic areas on the outskirts of the Downtown core.
In past efforts, the Council was criticized by some folks for adding to what was already a sea of street signs on poles, with one community member pointing out that he counted some 100 road signs embed in the sidewalk on Main Street from Quintana Road to Beach Street, on just the west side of the street.
Indeed, former-Mayor, the late Bill Yates, led an effort to “de-clutter” the Embarcadero sidewalks, removing dozens of pole signs including numerous parking restriction signs, as well as A-frame sidewalk signs, which under the City’s sign ordinance are not allowed on public sidewalks.