Homemade street signs pop up in downtown Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Someone wants you to know how easy it is to walk and bike to different places around downtown.

Whoever’s doing it isn’t identifying themselves and what they’re doing is raising questions from the city and PNM.

Over the last couple weeks, someone hung several signs downtown without anyone’s permission, promoting easy ways to bike and walk to different downtown businesses, events and locations. While they’re only hanging with zip-ties, so far, the signs are sticking around.

The signs were eye-catching to a few people who KRQE News 13 stopped on Monday afternoon.

“Pretty neat,” said Khang Ngo, a downtown employee at Lavu, a point-of-sale software company.

“I like it, I like it a lot, whoever’s doing it, kudos!” said Anna Goralczyk, a fellow Lavu employee.

The new signs can be described as way-finding signs. Each one is about a two foot by two foot square, printed on corrugated plastic, describing where to walk and bike to nearby locations. The signs also include information about distance, and how long it will take to get there depending on your mode of transportation.

“I can easily walk that on my lunch break,” said Goralczyk.

“It’s very cool actually,” said another woman working at Amy Biehl High School.

KRQE News 13 found at least seven of the signs Monday attached to light posts at or near downtown intersections. Several can be seen at Second and Gold Avenue with directions to the Rail Yards. Another one in front of the Convention Center has a listing of two popular local breweries.

“Knowing where everything is… is actually really nice to be able to make new discoveries,” said Ngo.

The signs are like the city’s large yellow ones for drivers, however, these new ones are not city-made. The city says someone hung the signs without their permission. KRQE News 13 inquired with local advocates, the city and PNM on Monday, however, no one seems to know who hung the signs up.

“(The signs are) intended to improve city neighborhoods and local gathering places,” said Dan Majewski.

Majewski is a longtime downtown Albuquerque advocate who helped start a group called “Urban ABQ.”

“I think we have lots of little walkable niches and bikeable niches all over town, and sort of maybe, they just have a little more wayfinding signs, more people would walk and more people would bike,” said Majewski.

Majewski didn’t make the latest downtown signs, however, he’s pushed to do something similar recently with homemade signs. The practice is commonly referred to as “guerrilla way-finding” or “tactical urbanism.”

Dan recently created the idea for the “3M Bike Boulevard” on Marble, Mountain and Mackland streets. The idea was to make a catchy brand for a low-traffic, bike friendly link that he saw between Uptown and the UNM campus.

Majewski says he’s hoping to see more of the signs soon.

“If these signs are encouraging people to walk to these place where the city is investing money, or encouraging economic development, then the city directly benefits,” said Majewski.

All of the signs are on light posts, making them the responsibility of PNM. The agency said Monday night that groups need to work with them first before hanging any kind of signs. However, the utility said they’re still looking into the ones downtown, and don’t have plans to remove them just yet.

If the city finds homemade signs on their own traffic signal poles, they’ll remove them. That’s because the city says “bandit signs” are against the law.

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