Sign of the times?

IMG_4979 It was too noisy this morning in Abbey Churchyard for even an amplified-busker to hear him or herself play or sing.

Some very polite council workmen  – wearing B&NES florescent jackets and hard-hats  – were busy drilling out one of the city’s tradition cast-iron direction posts with multiple arms which point towards all the heritage sites tourist might like to visit from this central hub of our World Heritage city.IMG_4980

Why did l have a particular image in mind from the war in the Pacific?Unknown-1

Only this time these were not soldiers  raising a flag at the end of the hard-fought battle of Iwo Jima but council workmen trying to take the weight of a very heavy pole that was being taken down.

Here’s the ingenious way three guys managed to move the post around the corner to their lorry in Stall Street where l saw a similar pole awaiting the same fate. I am told they will be re-cycled but what are we getting in their place? In terms of street clutter they were not top of my list. Watch the footage and l will tell you more.

Did Bath Preservation Trust know this was happening ? In a city packed with the traditional – what was wrong with them?

Well it seems the vast majority of traditional signs are being replaced with the monolith wayfinding map information installations which is now widespread across the city in which 33 map monoliths have already been rolled out.

A map 'monolith' near Bath Abbey
A map ‘monolith’ near Bath Abbey

The Council has apparently received ‘excellent feedback about the maps which provide people with a clear sense of their surroundings and enable them to explore and experience the hidden streets and the alleyways of the city and to appreciate the breadth and number of attractions on offer.’

The intention has always been – l was told – to replace the existing finger posts with the new City Information System as part of a plan to de-clutter the streets of signage –  but a small number of finger posts will be kept on the edge of the city centre where the map monoliths are not present.

A specialist independent report commissioned by B&NES had concluded that having two information systems in place at the same time would be unnecessary and confusing.
Seems the existing fingerposts are often inaccurate pointing in the wrong direction or the direction not being sufficiently readable.

Another one about to come down in Stall Street!

Some posts contain over twenty fingers making it difficult for people to understand and
they are not deemed to be as effective as map-based information in a city with a complex and confusing street pattern like Bath.

The map monoliths address the removal of finger posts by containing directions in the form of pointers around the edge of the maps which are accurate and linked to our mapping system.

They are also more helpful to disabled people, particularly those with visual and physical impairments, because they aid them to plan accessible routes and are at a more personal height.

‘The City Information System was developed with the active involvement from over twenty stakeholder groups between 2009 and 2011 and all have been kept fully informed about the implementation of the plans.

The feedback from the majority of these organisations has been very positive’ said a Council spokesperson.

Well Virtual Museum ‘readers’ what do you think?