15 March 2009

SE 145th & Division: The New PDX Street Blade Look on Old Blades

1979.Our other catch today on the Street Blade Safari (in the rain and the cold, but I'm Oregonian, and that's how I roll) is a distinctly unexpected surprise – the apparently-new street blade design, but not as I expected it:

SE 145th and Division is immediately northwest of the Division Street Fred Meyer. On the northeast corner there's a KFC; on the southwest, a gas station. The parts of SE 145th Avenue north of and south of Division do not meet square, they 'jog'; it's a signalled intersection, presumably because getting into that area of neighborhood both north and south of Division over on 148th is a bit impractical maybe.

And it's where the new Portland blade design – which, on Division at SE 117th, SE 101st, and SE 57th Avenues are on big, white-bordered sheet – are here applied to the traditional, extruded metal blade which are the standard for Portland blades

The fit of the letterforms on the blade is a feels a little force and awkward, but it works fine really. Particularly good is the way the layout artist aligned the block index (2500) and the generic (ST) along margin on the left ends of the respective text blocks.

I have wondered if there was going to be some way to deal with the fact that the new big-blades, which appear to be sheet, might need the strutctural-stiffness the ribbed extruded shape provides for support of Portland's numerous neighborhood sign-toppers. One reason this redesign pleases me so much is because many of those sign-toppers result in the loss of the block-index tab, which can be a great help to visitors in finding thier way around and for delivery drivers and others who might take the time to memorize the blocks but probably find just having to find a sign to get them saving a huge step.

These new blades grace the northeast and southwest corners of SE 145th and Division. I have the ones here on the northeast corner, by the KFC; it was just too rainy and cold to stay out and take many more pics (I'm Oregonian, and that's the way I roll, but I'm just insane about street blades, and not about standing out in the cold and wet).

Here's a couple more pixs. First, a view from the north of the SE Division blade:

And now, the full monty. Maybe it's just that it's a newer blade, but there's something crisper and better-proportioned about the letterforms on the new blade (when I first saw them from the side, I thought they were using Helvetica for a split second):

And the documentation continues.

Say ... has anyone seen these blades in thier 'hoods? One curiosity is that these are only appearing (so far as I know) along SE Division Street. Why nowhere else? I see about my share of corners in the city, but no other examples of this yet.

Anyone else see these around town?

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