Sign, Sign, Everywhere and Nowhere a Sign

Want to see an amazing thing? Something utterly mind-blowing and absolutely life-altering?

SF signage

See it? See? No, it’s not the tiny ponderosa pine just west of the Roundhouse in Santa Fe (although it is a cute little thing).

And it’s not the Bike Route sign (see title of blogpost). No, it’s the two words, eight simple letters on that sign: “Rail Yard.”

Yes, frequent Albuquerque cyclist who stares at bike route signs, it is possible to have information on these signs beyond simple notification that, yeah, you’re on a bike route and an arrow. I hope you’re sitting down, Albuquerque cycling person, because I know how earth-shattering this concept is.

Wayfinding? On a sign? With words? Really?

Yes, Virginia, there are such signs. As alluded to earlier, this one is up in Santa Fe between the Roundhouse and, you guessed it, the Rail Yards. I had the chance to take the Rail Runner up for some “Ledge Thing” this week and found the sign very, very helpful. Yes, it is also true that the lack of further “rail yard included” bike route signs along the way meant that I ended up taking a circuitous route to the Rail Yards. But, no matter…look at that sign!

It can be done, and if you don’t believe me one need look no further than right here in good ‘ol Burque, at the intersection of Marquez/Tingley Drive and 8th Street in Barelas:

bosque marquez 8th

‘Tis a rare sight, the one above. Like an uneaten sopapilla at Duran’s Pharmacy or something. I can’t think of another such sign anywhere in town, and I’ve asked around a bit: nobody else can think of one either. How this sign got to be placed atop the 8th/Marquez sign is surely a wondrous story.

And that leads to another wondrous, albeit far less positive, story concerning signage (or lack thereof) here in town. Have you ever stumbled across a fascinating, if forlorn, multi-use path called “Amole Arroyo Trail” in far southwest ABQ?

amore arroyo trail

The screengrab above from the ABQ Bike Map .pdf is a little deceptive. Amole Arroyo isn’t nearly as straight as indicated, instead weaving and bobbing along, across, and between the hugely confusing street known varyingly as “98th Street/Snow Vista/Arroyo Vista.”

Someday it will all be renamed Manny Aragon Boulevard. I kid.

Anyway, in another Burque bike infrastructure treatment I don’t believe can be found anywhere else in town, Arroyo Amole Trail actually becomes something of a “Powerline Trail” in the huge median beneath big power lines just south of Truman Middle School. The Trail weaves across 98th Street from east to west, then bops back across the southbound lanes at Camino San Martin to the median for about a block or two.

It’s bizarre. But what is even more bizarre is that there are absolutely no signs for any roadway/Trail users that a multi-use path, one close to a middle school, is crossing a busy street.

amore arroyo crosses 98th
Photo: John Fleck, Official Better Burque Staff Photographer

It’s a bit hard to make out all the stupid here, but basically the Trail ends, there’s a curb ramp for users to cross onto the median (note lack of accompanying curb ramp on median side), and the only signs (very hard  make out) concern telling drivers that southbound 98th is one way and to not turn right into oncoming traffic.

As far as any notice that there’s a multi-use path anywhere within this census tract or area code: Nothing. Not a thing.

Big thanks to 311/SeeClickFix reporter “Inkwell” for bringing this bizarre and highly dangerous situation to both 311’s and BB’s attention. Readers who wish to check this area out are both encouraged and warned that it’s a bit dicey and the goatheads are creeping quite a bit in the median section, indicating that the “powerline trail” portion gets zero maintenance. To be honest, it doesn’t look like any of Arroyo Amole gets much maintenance at all.

The weekend weather promises to be pleasant in that Autumn sort of way. So why not go ride way the hell out to the southwest part of the city and experience a dangerous, goathead-filled route lacking in signage? What, you’re not interested?

Signs, wayfinding signs. They’re all about encouraging ridership. It can be done, Albuquerque.




One thought on “Sign, Sign, Everywhere and Nowhere a Sign

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