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CB Town Council on board with major upgrade to town signage

Fewer, cleaner, more attractive, less cluttered signs in CB

By Mark Reaman

A major upgrade to Crested Butte’s signage is in the works. Town planner Michael Yerman presented the Town Council with an outline of a potential customized way-finding program that will replace pretty much all of the signs in town over two years.

The goal is to use the artists in the newly formed Creative District to help design a way-finding system that integrates art and design into town signs while promoting the town itself, the Historic District aspect and the Creative District element.

“We want to promote wandering through town but make it easy for people to find things like public restrooms and parking areas,” explained Yerman.

Way-finding is explained as how people orient themselves and navigate from place to place throughout the town. It is meant to enhance the visitor experience and help the community’s economic vitality.

With the help of a PowerPoint presentation, Yerman showed that the town has no coordinated sign program.

Mayor Glenn Michel asked if a way-finding program was almost obsolete in the new world of cell phones and Google maps. “Are we designing a system for yesterday?” he asked.

“I don’t think everyone just walks around here with their head buried in their phone,” said Yerman. “Plus, a lot of things are still not on Google maps. We are still a small town with the opportunity for discovery.”

Yerman said an inventory showed that there are at least 70 existing signs. The report from Yerman indicated some even point to locations that no longer exist, and with so many signs there is a large amount of clutter.

Because Crested Butte is a National Historic District, any signage in the town will have to adhere to specific rules and regulations. New signage will include the recently developed logo for the Crested Butte Creative District.

The town will put out a request for proposals for the design of the new signs and Yerman hopes some local “creatives” will submit ideas. “The design should be unique and represent the culture and heritage of the Town of Crested Butte,” Yerman’s report reads. “The primary goal for the new way-finding signage is to display directional information clearly while also presenting a consistent and recognizable image for the town… Ideally, a cohesive and attractive way-finding signage will not only direct drivers, bicycle riders and pedestrians, but will strengthen the Crested Butte brand creating a sense of place for the Town for residents and visitors.”

There are several types of signs: the “Gateway Signs” at the three main entrances to town; “Primary Directional Signs” that would be located on the highway; “Secondary Signs” that act as directional signs inside town and are meant to be viewed at less than 15 miles per hour; “Tertiary Signs,” small signs that provide directions to specific locations that are located off primary routes of travel; and “Destination Signage” that indicates arrival at a location such as a park, within town. Destination signs will be unique to each place and Yerman hopes local artists think about helping to design some of those signs.

“Is there a risk of too much saturation with so many destinations when maybe 80 percent of what people are looking for is a free public parking lot?” asked councilman Chris Ladoulis.

“I’m afraid of having too many, too,” added councilman Jim Schmidt.

“Saturation is typically when there are, say, five things on a sign and there is a some of that now,” said Yerman. “There would actually be fewer signs than we have now. The idea is to go from cluttered, scattered signs without any consistency to way-finding signs. There are only 48 signs being planned.”

The council asked that some typical destinations be included, such as a sign pointing to Kebler Pass when drivers first enter town on Highway 135.

Michel noted that the council had approved the 2017 budget with $7,500 for the new signage and Yerman said that amount would cover the entire way-finding system, including the larger Gateway Signs.

“The town has invested a lot of money into public parking areas and they aren’t easy to find and thus aren’t always utilized great,” said Yerman. “That will be one goal of the new system.”

Yerman hopes to have a new sign design selected early this year, with some signs possibly being installed this coming summer.

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