06 April 2009

New Brighton MN: New Street Blades, Information, and A Sense Of Place

2015.... and the street blade geekage continues apace around here with a find I got via teh Google. Reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on 17 Mar 2009, we find that the town of New Brighton, MN, is getting new street blades over the next three years, and here's what they'll look like:

Photo copyright Minneapolis Star-Tribune, used for fair-use commentary and illustration only. Copyright remains with creator

This is a nice-looking sign, readable and locates you very nicely not only as to street and block but also makes a co-star of the city's logo. From the article:

Prompted by a federal requirement that all cities comply with new visibility standards for street signs by January 2012, New Brighton officials are starting a three-year replacement project. Not only will the new signs sport the city's logo -- a capital "N" and "B" -- they also will feature larger letters and a reflective finish.

"It's really going to identify New Brighton with a sense of place," said Grant Wyffels, the city's public works director.

New Brighton's public works director has the right of it, and its important in the greater Twin Cities, where small cities sit hemming each other in, like a big, badly-cut puzzle. It's the reason why, a couple of years back, the city of Hillsboro rationalized all street names within the crazy-quilt of city-county land in the area between Baseline Road, Tualatin Valley Highway, and going west from Cornelius Pass Road. From some classic Address Nerdery:

Annexation in the direction of Cornelius Pass Road (which historically was SW219th Avenue before the realignment at the Baseline Road intersection some time back) and Reedville has resulted in a patchwork of city-county land; new development in the incorporated areas have benn assigned City-based street names and addresses, resulting in a address quilt even crazier than the city-county one.

Street names really mix it up here. Along SW Drake Lane, there is a cross street of SE 54th Avenue but SW 239th just a few blocks down. The intersction of SW 239th Avenue and SW Frances Street is very close to the intersection of SE Golden Rd and SE 56th Ct... and SE Golden Rd crosses SW 239th.

To the end of solving this problem, Hillsboro is synchronizing this area with its own well established grid. The information is available at this web page. Included are some nifty PDFs of the first stage of the project, which concerns the area called Reedville, which is mostly around the intersection of what we today call SW Cornelius Pass Road and SW Tualatin Valley Highway.

This area is a part of the Metro area, and part of Washington County as well, but is a strong part of the Hillsboro community. Standardizing street names across this area and rationalizing them with the Hillsboro address grid not only eliminates confusion but also promotes a strong sense of place in an area that is kind of a generic suburban area. 

And you didn't need anything more than a coordinated street blade and address policy. That's value for money.

As recorded elsewhere here, you can find city logos on street blades in Keizer (though those need a refresh) and Central Point.

FWIW, yes, "sense of place" is a Good Thing™. It's what great communities grow from.

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