30 January 2010

[pdx] Presenting The César E Chávez Blvd Blades (with Bonus Beech Street)

2312.As I mentioned yesterday, I was going to have César E Chávez Blvd blades for posting today. And I do try to live up to my promises. Here we go.

The unveiling and a ceremony happened in front of the Central Christian Church, 1844 SE César E Chávez Blvd, at the cross street of SE Stephens Street. Across the street is another church, the Temple of Praise, and nothing against the Central Christian Church, but it made a much more attractive backdrop (and it was easier to lens the pics from the former's parking lot, actually …)

The new Blades are the recently-evolved Type 3's, and the same sensitivity to leading, kerning, and tracking are evident. That's still a good looking Clearview sign, dang it!

The type is the right size, easy to read, aware of its baselines, and the generic and the block index align very nicely. This is a tightly-designed piece.

The signs will co-exist on SE 39th Avenue for the next five years, as per standard PDX practice. The buzz I heard (I thought it was via Mayor Sam's twitter stream, but I'm wrong, it seems) is that they'll come down and be sold or auctioned off for charity's sake. I'll look for confirmation of that.

Despite the ballyhoo of the signs being installed "from Hollywood to Hawthorne", they were only installed at one place each in Hollywood and Hawthorne. The above is Hawthorne's intstallation. The following two are from the so-far sole Hollywood installation, the overheads at the Broadway/Sandy/39th plenum, just north of the Banfield Freeway:

This is the overhead looking west on NE Broadway from CEC. Yet another evolution for Portland street blades: The overhead blade looks like the car-level blade – note the formatting of the generic and the block index, and the directional:

A very high-information sign, indeed. If you go south on NE 37th Avenue, just a couple blocks west, and approach the traffic distrbutor that encourages you to choose either Halsey Street eastbound or CEC soutbound, you'll now notice the directional sign points to César E Chávez Blvd South, and they're all in Clearview now.

Yes, I luves Clearview. Sosumi. I'm a type obsessive as well as a street blade obsessive.

Moreover, the inclusion of the accute accents impart a definited sense of sophistication. One of the things I regret about English is no diacritics, no umlauts, no accents. Well, just write about CEC Blvd, and you have them (Fellow sign obsessive Ben Lukoff also reacted positively, and he, too, has a good eye).

Oh, yes, the bonus: the Type 3s are up at the corner of NE 57th Ave and Beech Street, too:

Actually, this is along the side of 57th along the cemetery fence, but you can't miss it. An embarrassment of riches today, for sure – history no matter which way you look at it, and attractive, grown-up-city street blades slowly but surely populating the best city in the world … my home, Portland, in the state of my birth, Oregon.

O yea.

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Benjamin Lukoff said...

Wow, so standard PDX practice is to leave both signs up for five years? Fascinating. When we change names, they all come down en masse. At least that has been the case for the changes that have happened within my lifetime that I can think of right now: Empire Way --> Martin Luther King Jr. Way; Union Bay Place (south section) --> Mary Gates Memorial Drive; Aurora Avenue (under the George Washington Memorial Bridge) --> Troll Avenue; Connecticut Street --> Royal Brougham Way; Atlantic Street (section south of Safeco Field) --> Edgar Martinez Drive.

Actually, there's a street which could have incorporated a diacritic: name's actually spelled Martínez. But none to be found on the sign.

Ben said...

Nice. :-)
I'm surprised you haven't written about bus stop sign improvements. I love TriMet half moons. Distinctive poles, easy to read signs (with route directions) and overall great. Ever seen what most Metro signs are like in King County? *small groan*

Glad to be back in Portland! :)

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

@Benjamin Lukoff: That's quite a list of renamings that Seattle's been though. I've collected enough Seattle maps to know about the Empire Way-MLK Way renaming, but the rest are fascinating, too.

But … Troll Avenue? Delightful! I was actually able to use Google Maps Street View to peep this sign, and I'm going to post about it soon.

There's a lot of myopia involved in the way street names get changed around PDX. At least they let us ease into it. And by mounting the sign the way they did, we have some idea of how tough the new blades are – they look pretty substantial.

From what I've sen of Seattle's blades, they still use the FHWA-style font that they've been doing, and my guess is that it's because FHWA-standard fonts seem (seem, I say) to have no diacritics.

What can I say? They should have gone to Clearview as well. The more I see that font the more I find the more to like.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

@Ben2, that's a good point. I've had mixed feelings about TriMet's newer paint job and paint scheme, but the half-moons are very distinctive and the design is very apt and pleasant to look at – and readable. I'll whip something up on TriMet soon, thanks to your suggestion.

I remember seeing KC Metro signs a long time ago, and I remember they were functional to the point of being drab. That was some 15 or so years ago, tho. From what you've written here, I'd say they've not changed much.

Welcome back to PDX!

Benjamin Lukoff said...

Yep. Mary Gates is Bill's mother and a University of Washington regent; the section of Union Bay Place N.E. renamed after her runs through UW property on both sides. I assume they didn't just name it Gates Place to avoid people thinking we were naming a street after Bill. Though why memorial drive, I'm not sure. Royal Brougham was a sportswriter for the dearly departed Seattle P-I, and Edgar Martinez played for the Mariners, so that's where those renamings on either side of Safeco Field came about (though Royal Brougham got its name when we still had the Kingdome).