Transportation

New Signs Guide The Way In Downtown Houston In Time For Super Bowl 51

Downtown Houston has become a popular destination in recent years but it isn’t always the easiest place to get around. That’s a big concern as the NFL’s Super Bowl 2017 draws closer.

On a rainy afternoon across from Market Square, we dodged construction to check out some of downtown Houston's new wayfinding signs.

Those signs feature maps and directions. They point the way to destinations like Minute Maid Park and Discovery Green. Over 100 of those signs are geared toward pedestrians.

Lonnie Hoogeboom with the Downtown Management District says they're designed to help visitors find things they might otherwise miss.

"There are some significant gaps between destinations," says Hoogeboom. "So how do you get someone who's attending a convention at George R. Brown to come over to the historic district and go to Market Square, to go to the Theatre District."

The district has also installed new overhead signs for drivers, and that posed its own set of challenges. Hoogeboom says they had to find a way to help visitors negotiate downtown's one-way streets.

"I think for Houstonians we may not perceive it as the most intuitive route, but for visitors we've really tried to make it the easiest, most navigable driving route," adds Hoogeboom.

And those overhead signs aren't just providing information. On the back you'll find commissioned work by local artists. Sara Kellner with the Houston Arts Alliance coordinated that effort.

"We wanted something to express the spirit of Houston artists and the spirit of downtown," says Kellner. "Something that people who live and work in downtown and visitors would enjoy, and something that would give them a taste of the creative spirit of Houston."

It costs the management district about $3 million dollars to put up the new signs. But Lonnie Hoogeboom says they may have to redo a lot of that work in the future if TxDOT moves ahead with its plan to redesign downtown freeways.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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