Thursday, I was riding the trusty Trek 820 converted commuter bike down Seabrook Avenue in Cary when I spotted something odd near MacDonald Woods Park. Something you rarely see on a Triangle area greenway, yet something the vast majority of us — outside of city planners, apparently — find most useful.
A sign. (Or "signage," as it's called in municipal government circles.) Specifically, a sign telling me where I was.
As the Triangle's greenway systems have continued to mushroom, one thing has been lacking: signs telling us where we are, signs advising us of where we can go. And for years, we've been promised such signs. Apparently, there's more to putting up a sign than meets the lay eye.
"It's a process," Cary greenway and parks planner Joe Godfrey sighed after explaining what all his town has gone through to get a good sign system approved and, now, up.
Turns out the sign I saw, for the Hinshaw Greenway in historic (1980s) Cary was among the first batch to go up (it went up last week, says Godfrey). As you can see, these signs are a nifty green and blue, very visible, the word "Greenway" writ large so there's no mistaking. They're especially helpful at this location because when the Hinshaw Greenway gets to Seabrook, it jogs slightly; It wasn't immediately apparent where the greenway picks up on the other side of the street. It is now.
At Seabrook, the signs are simple identifiers. Godfrey promises that at points where greenways intersect, where it's unclear where to go, there will be more explicit signs. At trailheads, there will be kiosks with even more detailed signs and maps. And, at some point, mile markers with GPS coordinates will be added.
Don't expect the signs to appear systemwide overnight, cautions Godfrey. "It will take several years," he says of the upgrade. Priority, though, will be given the more popular and more wayfinding-challenged greenways. White Oak, for instance, which is a major, emerging corridor that will link Bond Park with the American Tobacco Trail.
Wish the signs would go up faster. But it's a start.