KFnet in T-Town

May. 6, 2008 at 7:32am

Getting to Pacific

An unfortunate need for signage

It was nice to see David Boe's idea for replacing the fence blocking direct access to and from Pacific Ave and the Bridge of Glass. KFnet readers send in a handful of other alt ideas for that area when a wall was under construction to more permanently block access in that area. Though the memorial to pioneering donors will now come to Tollefson the fence interrupting pedestrian flow at the end of the Bridge of Glass still stands.

This weekend, I saw a new wayfinding sign posted that should be completely unnecessary. Here 'tis:

So, if I take on the perspective if a visitor, although I can see Pacific right in front of me it appears blocked for some reason and I instead have to veer left toward an impending, poorly marked building and I'm not sure exactly where I'll end up. Pointless.

Here's how I'd like the sign to read:

...with no fence at all to block free movement in the area. Will the WSHM ever realize that their ticket or gift shop sales aren't helped at all by this routing? Better signage for and on the museum itself will counter balance anything gained by forcing people to wander by.

Raise your hand if you or any of your out-of-town guests made the impromptu decision to visit the museum or its gift shop just because they were made to walk in front of it. I didn't think so.

More "donor wall" via FeedTacoma

comments [15]  |  posted under bridge of glass, fence, pedestrian access, tacoma, wshm

Comments

by izenmania on 5/6/2008 @ 8:40am
I find that people are more than willing to visit any given museum gift shop under one condition: they have gone through the museum first. The only reasonable way to get more people into that gift shop is to get more people going through the museum. And I doubt that forcing people to walk fifty feet closer to the entrance when passing through is the way to achieve that.

by Nick on 5/6/2008 @ 8:53am
I actually have yet to visit the WSHM, yet I have been to the Museum of Glass several times (everytime on foot, using the Bridge of Glass). Certainly everyone is different, but I can say with 100% certainty that forcing me to walk through that stupid arch has had zero influence on a decision to visit that museum.

In fact, it has established quite the opposite. Now that I know why the fence is there, it actually creates a feeling of resentment towards the museum. It makes me feel manipulated, and places the museum's leadership on par with a sleazy car salesman.

Let the museum stand on its own merits. If it can't attract visitors on its own and must resort to this kind of behavior, perhaps it is time to change its leadership to some people who can. To me, the only thing erecting that fence has done is issued the statement "we don't know how to run this museum effectively." Even if this is not the case, it is the perception that is being created.

by intacoma on 5/6/2008 @ 9:12am
Ive only gone once because I was forced in school

by droid116 on 5/6/2008 @ 9:19am
I have been and recommend it. The Navajo blanket exhibit was great, the railroad displays are always a treat and in general a fine day spent wandering throughout.

Dislike the fence intensely though.

by Erik on 5/6/2008 @ 11:03am
If the WSHM didn't make the whole area so dysfunctional and confusing, they would not need a sign in the first place. Pacific Avenue is just a few feet away.

The sign basically says : here's how to get out of our maze.

by NineInchNachos on 5/6/2008 @ 2:01pm
Read up on your rail road history and we can apply some well placed Thermite charges to the bolts of the center fence section. Timmmmber!

by Adam the Alien on 5/6/2008 @ 3:51pm
To add to the "It doesn't help gift shop sales" point...

I was filming right out in that area between Pacific and the Glass Bridge for hours this last weekend. I never even realized there was a gift shop.

And to be quite frank - as a newcomer? It wasn't until halfway through those hours that I realized where the main entrance to the museum was. Walking by it and being near it does shit when the signage isn't helpful.

Further point, again as a newcomer: That big arch is REALLY intimidating, from either side. Without proper signs in better locations than they're at now, I've always been more apt to turn around than go through that thing until I was shown the way through by a local.

by Heather on 5/6/2008 @ 5:38pm
I've been told that the WSHM is excellent, so I will probably visit. But I might wait until someone takes down that fence.

by fredo on 5/6/2008 @ 7:42pm
The Museum is nice and the gift shop is...well, it's a museum gift shop. The fence... I don't understand that at all. If you don't want people to walk through an area then plant it with yucca or some other prickly plant. Same result, more attractive appearance.

by Heather on 5/6/2008 @ 8:35pm
The discussion at Exit133 is really getting interesting.
Unfortunately, I haven't yet figured out how to insert a hyperlink into a comment here. Kevin linked it above, in his first sentence "David Boe's idea." It is nice to hear Julie Anderson weigh in on the issue.

by KevinFreitas on 5/6/2008 @ 9:03pm
Julie's been a huge help on this issue especially when it concerned putting up a donor wall (lots of comments on those original issues here). City leaders need to listen to concerns like this and make appeals toward a more walkable downtown. I've met with the WSHM director David Nicandri and he's concerned for the well-being of the business that is the museum, understandably. If the City would pitch in to offer some ways to help draw attention to the WSHM perhaps they'd be more open to, well, opening up the fence there. I contend that better signage and info right around the entrance to the WSHM and nearby on Pacific or even in the island for the Link stop would help more than directing foot traffic with iron bars.

by Erik on 5/6/2008 @ 9:38pm
If the City would pitch in to offer some ways to help draw attention to the WSHM perhaps they'd be more open to, well, opening up the fence there.

Since the WSHM was able to prevail in a stalemate of sorts in retaining the fence, they may conclude that they can weather out any boycott that Tacoma residents and community groups could wage.

However, talking to different people and leaders in Tacoma in the last few months, the tide seems to pretty universally turned against the WSHM. It is getting to be well accepted that they are deliberately causing a detriment to the city.

There is increasing concern about connecting downtown to the Foss Waterway which the WSHM thwarts.

I must wonder whether the WSHM will seriously take the objections of the fence blocking the Bridge of Glass until they start either losing events there or have some sort of measurable loss of business.

I contend that better signage and info right around the entrance to the WSHM and nearby on Pacific or even in the island for the Link stop would help more than directing foot traffic with iron bar

Perhaps they could be persuaded if a total package was offered which addresses some of their concerns.

There could be a two or three month mediation period between the city, WSHM and others to see if the issue can be worked out. The unfortunate thing is that the WSHM is a public institution which our tax payer money funds right in downtown. We want it to succeed.

However, in this case, their action blocking the bridge of glass with a fence and impeding Tacoma residents from the Foss Waterway is so egregious and detrimental, Tacomans are going to have little choice but to force them to eventually remove the fence one way or another.

What percent of the the visitors to the WSHM need to be reduced, or number of events canceled their before the WSHM will finally believe this is a real concern by Tacomans?

Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

by fredo on 5/6/2008 @ 9:46pm
Kevin, I thought it was interesting that Bagels had the same weight as History on the signage. I would expect that most tourists would be looking for a Urinal (no signage provided).

by Erik on 5/6/2008 @ 11:36pm
Kevin, I thought it was interesting that Bagels had the same weight as History on the signage. I would expect that most tourists would be looking for a Urinal (no signage provided).

Speaking of the Deli, its so sad. They have frontage right on Pacific Avenue and made the windows too high to see out on the street sitting down inside. From Pacific Avenue, its impossible to see people eating in the restaurant. Oh well. Sure must have looked good in the architectural rendering though when the deli was built.

by jenyum on 5/12/2008 @ 9:21am
Online petition now available here!

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So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.

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