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Upcoming Signage Plan Could Subtly Shape New Potomac Yard Skyline

The future of Potomac Yard’s building signage may seem overly technical, but the upcoming discussion at the Dec. 1 Planning Commission meeting could shape the future of the neighborhood’s new skyline.

The goal of the signage program, put together by Elkus Manfredi Architects and Roll Barresi & Associates, is to ensure the design of signage throughout Potomac Yard is consistent as new developments are brought forward.

“Phase 1 of the North Potomac Yard redevelopment will establish the Innovation District, a transit-oriented mixed use development characterized by activated streetscapes, a network of open spaces and a vibrant mix of retail, office, residential and academic uses,” a report on the program said. “Consistent with the North Potomac Yard Design Excellence Prerequisites and Criteria, this Coordinated Sign Program views signage from a district-wide perspective, and outlines a cohesive framework for unique and identifiable signage through the use of high quality graphics and a variety of signage styles that are integrated into architectural elements and streetscape throughout the district.”

The program provides a guidelines for the type, size and location of signs throughout Potomac Yard, along with placement and illumination guidelines. Similar sign programs exist in other parts of the city.

“This Coordinated Sign Program establishes a plan for the types, sizes and locations of signage throughout the district and establishes guidelines for sign materials, placement, and method of illumination,” the report said. “This Coordinated Sign Program does not prescribe a formula for the design of individual signs or sign elements, rather, it provides flexibility for individual tenants and users to design creative, unique signs that are integrated with the quality of the buildings and site design, thereby enhancing the visual experience of individuals throughout the district.”

Out, for instance, are the large flat-box style signs, signs with letters mounted above the roof, or signs with internally illuminated backgrounds.

According to the coordinated sign program, the plan is also for pedestrian and vehicle wayfinding signs to be located throughout Potomac Yard. The signs will have maps and other visual guides to help people navigating the new district find their way. Other signs will direct bicycle and pedestrian traffic to North Potomac Yard Park.

Vehicle wayfinding will direct traffic towards parking or to public destinations.

Image via City of Alexandria

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