Port Townsend introduces uptown, downtown merchant signs
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Monica Marriot, left, and Chris Harris of Addie Mae’s Southern Kitchen inspect the merchant information sign on Water Street that will hold references to eight businesses. Sign placement will be determined on a first come, first served basis Monday morning. —Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
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A sample business plate.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Although the queue likely will be shorter than those for Bruce Springsteen tickets or a new recreational marijuana shop, a line is expected Monday morning as business owners seek to reserve a place on one of Port Townsend’s newly erected merchant information signs.

“I think people will be lining up,” said Director of Community Services Rick Sepler.

“But we have plenty of space, and most people will get their first or second choice.”

Applications for one of the 96 signs and their placement will be taken beginning at 8 a.m. at City Hall, 250 Madison St.

There are no options to apply by mail or online. A personal appearance is required.

The initial $84.75 fee includes engraving and design.

Each year’s renewal is expected to be $20, payable each Jan. 1 and pro-rated for those who put up their sign in the middle of the year.

Twelve signs — 10 downtown and two uptown — each with room for eight businesses, will be situated throughout walking areas.

The signs will list the names, addresses and QR codes that lead to more information about the businesses with the use of a smartphone.

Each sign has a detailed street map of downtown and uptown with “you are here” notations to let people know where they are and how to get to their destination.

Those applying for placement will have three choices for the location of their signs, which are located on Water and Washington streets downtown, on Jefferson Street leading uptown and in front of the Port Townsend Community Center uptown.

While businesses have three choices, each is allowed only one sign.

If there are too many applicants, the signs can be double-sided.

If not enough people apply to fill the signs, space can be used to direct people to the Port Townsend Library and other services, Sepler said.

The signs are open to uptown and downtown merchants, who must locate their signs in their own district.

Sepler said this rule is deliberate, as the idea behind wayfinding is to help people navigate their current location.

“We want to give people an idea of where they are and what’s around them,” he said.

Sepler said the signs provide “a downtown-uptown connection” because they lead the way to uptown for people who have walked up the fountain steps and don’t know which way to turn.

“That connection hasn’t always been clear,” he said.

“People can look left at the top of the stairs to one sign which directs them to go right, and they can see uptown from there.”

The application process that begins Monday will be continuous, as businesses will change and new stores will want to be included.

Once the initial applications are received, the signs will be sent out for engraving, which is expected to take a few weeks.

Sepler did not have a breakdown for the cost of the signs, saying that was a component of a $400,000 wayfinding project that has sought to clarify signage throughout the city

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 16. 2014 5:58PM
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