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Signs, signs, everywhere

I went to Ikea yesterday, for the first time in probably five or six years. I was never a fan of the store, just never got the allure, but I did see some cool glasses in a catalog in the last year or two so I stopped on my way home from the airport. It turned out better than I remembered it; in fact, had I not just stimulated my mechanic's bank account, I am quite certain I could have dropped some Benjamins in this place. But, alas, I ended up with a half dozen juice glasses (not the ones I wanted, unfortunately), and off Jordan and I went. (Note: Ikea is a cool place for kids; apparently there is normally some play area, but even without this, Jordan loved going into the "rooms" pretending they were hers. Also note: Don't take a preschooler to this place when you are in hurry.)

And then I remembered the other reason I do not like to go to Ikea: I can never find my way back to the Parkway towards Pittsburgh. I always find the Pittsburgh sign soon after I exit the lot, and I dutifully go straight per the sign. But almost right away, there is a fork in the road. And I always guess wrong. Then comes another fork in the road, and I guess wrong again; at both junctions, there are no signs. I ended up several miles away from Ikea, and probably $1.50 in gas later, before I gave up and turned around, cursing whoever thought Robinson Town Center's mass of roads is intuitive.

But as Pittsburghers know, this is not the only confusing place in the area. Another of my favorites is on Braddock Avenue in Regent Square. When you head away from that area towards the Parkway East, you see a sign for Monroeville, pointing straight. But as soon you go under an overpass, you need to know that you should make a right turn; no sign is going to indicate this for you. Even though I have known this for years, I still get mad every time I see the missing-but-oh-so-important second sign.

The first year I lived in Pittsburgh, I remember driving with some friends in Market Square. We ended up driving around the square twice before we found the way out. "Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament!" And I think of all the times I have gotten on one of the highways by sheer luck, not because a sign told me if I made this or that turn, I would be right there. If I had a dollar for how many times I could see the road that I needed to be on, but I just I could not get there, I could have bought that cute bedroom at Ikea!

I think Pittsburgh is a great place to live; I have lived here for 12 years (this month), and I have no plans of moving more than 20 miles from downtown. But I just wish someone would drive the city and surrounding areas and put in all the missing signs. Certainly, the signage has improved over the last 10 to 20 years, but the Burgh still has a way to go.

Comments

Hawk said…
Gee Faith... If only you knew or were related by blood to some transportation engineers.... Maybe they could fix that signing problem!

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