City approves downtown signs

Mark R. Madler

To make it easier to guide visitors downtown and to find parking,

City Council members have approved a $134,000 contact to install new


The 101 signs to be mounted on poles and walls will be in place by


"I'm anxious to see a program that works and is as clear as

possible," Councilman Jef Vander Borght said at Tuesday's council

meeting. "I'm glad we cut down the number of signs."

Five signs that were to be placed in the Media City Center Mall

parking structures were eliminated at the request of the mall owners

who plan to put up their own signs.

The contract was awarded to Tucson-based Fluoresco Lighting &

Signs Inc., one of only two companies bidding on the work.

Jack Lynch, a senior project manager with the Community

Development Department, said that over the years the city has placed

directional signs downtown but never undertook a coordinated effort.

"This is an opportunity to do it right and comprehensively," Lynch


The city will put up four freeway offramp signs to direct visitors

downtown; 20 pole-mounted signs along the perimeter to direct

visitors to various downtown destinations and to public parking; 27

pole-mounted directional signs; 13 pole-mounted and seven

wall-mounted parking signs; and 30 district identification signs.

Vander Borght questioned why there was such a wide gap between

Fluoresco's bid and the $249,651 bid from Absolute Sign Inc. City

staff explained Absolute's bid was higher because it included the

expense of sub-contracting some of the work.

Vander Borght also wanted to know if the signs met the standards

set by the state's transportation department and wanted a letter from

the city's sign consultant stating there would be no problem using

the signs.

"I wouldn't want to be in a position where we get the signs up and

find ourselves having to scramble because Caltrans didn't approve

them," Vander Borght said.

City officials said the state probably shouldn't have a problem

with the signs.

"The way-finding signs are guide signs. They are in a different

category from Caltrans interests," Public Works Director Bruce Feng

said. "We're looking at apples and oranges in a sense. You wouldn't

even apply standards to signs they normally don't get involved with."

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