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The cost of finding downtown

Ben Godar

City staff is moving ahead with a project to put up signs directing

people to downtown Burbank, despite the hesitation of two councilmen

to move ahead with the estimated $300,000 project.


In a 3-2 vote, the City Council approved a measure directing staff

to complete designs for about 120 signs and to initiate a bidding

process. The council unanimously approved a measure to install two

Caltrans signs along the Golden State (5) Freeway directing drivers


to downtown Burbank.

City workers have worked with Hunt Design to develop the signs,

which will direct people to areas called the Mall District, Civic

District, Village District and parking. When completed, the brightly

colored signs will be hung in and around the downtown area.

While city staff said various stakeholder groups have responded

positively to the signs, some council members getting their first

look at the project during the March 25 meeting were concerned about


its design and cost.

Councilman Jef Vander Borght asked whether the vibrant colors

would be as recognizable to drivers as the simple green and white of

a Caltrans sign. He also said referring to parts of downtown as

different districts might be confusing.

“I’m not sure what ‘Mall District’ means to the average viewer,”

he said.

Councilman Dave Golonski said the cost of the project was too


high, pointing out that 38 signs saying only the name of the

particular district would cost about $55,000.

In response to the concerns of council members, Community

Development Director Sue Georgino said her staff is taking another

look at the program in search of ways to cut the price tag. The firms

that bid on the project will also be asked to give a price for pieces

to be done individually, as Golonski and Vander Borght expressed

interest in possibly phasing in the project or reducing its scope.

City employees are also talking with business owners and other

stakeholders in the area to make sure the signs achieve the intended

goal of promoting the downtown area and helping people find their way


“People know where the major destinations are, like IKEA and the

theaters,” she said. “We’re trying to get them involved in the street


The bids are expected to be taken to the council for final

approval in May, Georgino said. If approved, she hopes installation

of the signs could begin sometime this summer.