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grodney

Uptown South?

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This may be an old question, but I didn't find it through search.

A new decorative/informational sign was installed outside the football stadium yesterday, at the corner of Mint and Stonewall (cattywhompus from Duke's spinning globe thingy).

This sign has a nice little crown on top, and says "Uptown South". It sort of looks like the "South End" signs, but I've only driven by and haven't had the chance to study it. Anyway, it appears to have a little bit of directional info on it, like "<-- Stadium" and "Trade Street -->".

So is this "Uptown South" a new attempt to brand an area? Or something that already exists that I wasn't aware of?

Thanks.

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I think its part of the city's Uptown wayfinding program......I think they are naming the 4 wards with N, E, S, W and providing directions to specific locations. They were planning to have directions to public parking decks with some way of digitally indicating on the signs if the decks are full or not....I don't know if they moved forward with that part of the plan.

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There was a thread about this a few years ago. It was generally razz'd by UP'ers that preferred the historic 1st/2nd/3rd/4th wards continue to be used. Charlotte's diagonal streets are confusing, though. I can understand why it is being tried.

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It was originally discussed when the designs came out, but I think they are buried in a thread somewhere. I'll reiterate that I absolutely hate this designation and thinks it adds confusion. So what if tourists don't know the real life designations of the city, adding new arbitrary ones make it harder for them. Does everyone that goes to New York know what the designation for Chelsea, the Upper West Side, SoHo, Little Italy or others? No, but they look on a map and say 'Oh, I'm in Little Italy, that is why there are all these Italian Restaurants' or whatever.

They could also just put up a f'n map and let people figure it out, there are street name labels at every corner in the city and people have been using that method for 'wayfinding' for centuries. Or maybe designate a part of town with something less official sounding like 'Blue Zone' or 'Green Zone' or something equally stupid, but at least with a little bit of irony.

Leave it to Charlotte to have no sense of identity in a place and hire some [low IQ] consultant from out of town to create something 'easy for tourists' that ends up making up yet another ambiguous place name that is not rooted at all in any history or common usage.

By the way, the new name for a fork will be hereby be 'prongmetal' because it is more intuitive and descriptive.

'Charlotte was great. We found a nice little restaurant in Uptown East. The beef was excellent, but I must say, I was disappointed that my prongmetal was dirty, but the waiter just looked at me like I was crazy when I asked for a new one.'

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These signs also have maps on them that label the 4 different Wards of downtown. I'm not a big fan of the S,N,W, E either but these signs are for people that don't live here. So telling them 4th Ward, 1st Ward, etc. has no meaning to them when giving directions. I don't think these signs are meant to rebrand uptown...rather they are just to give directions.

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I completely agree with dubone's comment, especially this:

Leave it to Charlotte to have no sense of identity in a place and hire some [low IQ] consultant from out of town to create something 'easy for tourists' that ends up making up yet another ambiguous place name that is not rooted at all in any history or common usage.

This lame attempt to "rebrand" the parts of the city only goes to validate Charlotte's reputation for disregarding its history and having something of an inferiority complex in relation to "tourist cities". I don't know of another city which would seriously consider it a problem that complete strangers would have to buy a map in order to find their way around. Come to think of it, the 1st/2nd/3rd/4th Ward system is exceptionally easy to understand; they're already laid out with a logical, artificial system based on gridlined boundaries. It's not like they're named "Cabrini-Green", "Streeterville", and "Back-of-the-Yards".

The only guarantee you get in a system like this is that, in 20 years, it will be replaced by another set of trendier names. And instead of being asked for directions, the locals will have to explain why their city has no respect for the history of its neighborhoods.

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In an attempt to set a world record for the most coverage ever for a sign, I present these photos.

The full sign:

2007-11-13%20buildings%20001.jpg

The bottom -- a map and a list of attractions by quadrant:

2007-11-13%20buildings%20004.jpg

As a map guy, I find it -- interesting -- that they chose to orient the maps according to how you are facing them and reading them. In other words, "up" is ahead of you as you look at the sign. Although I'm generally in favor of Up=North, I think I can understand that for a walking-map navigation for the general public, this might be more user-friendly. Here are both sides of the sign, the first facing Mint, the second with back to Mint.

2007-11-13%20buildings%20005.jpg2007-11-13%20buildings%20006.jpg

A "walking guide" sign just outside the Mint Street parking deck:

2007-11-13%20buildings%20008.jpg

Comment: I'm pretty sure I hate hate hate this N-S-E-W designation, in direct 45-degree contrast to the 1st-2nd-3rd-4th wards. Yuck. Maybe somebody thinks it will help U.S. Americans with reading maps of the Iraq people, and such. But I think it sucks.

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They should have definitely just stuck with the wards. The N,S,E,W directions screw everything up and cut blocks and neighborhoods in half. I think it can only lead to confusion.

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Uptown is a friggin grid, why in the world would they then designate areas with diagnal lines through that grid??? Who made these descisions? How hard is it to orient the map correctly, color in the 4 wards and then put a "you are here" marker? I dont have alot of confidence in Americans geography skills, but geez, tourists are not that stupid. Hell, you could use a map like I just described and then put a note next to it for wayfinding "That big pointy building is in the middle of the 4 colored squares" :blink:

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Is this the only one of these signs that we know of? Maybe I'll drive my jalopy tomorrow and have an "accident" and wipe the thing out. Maybe the brain trust would take that as a "sign" that this is a wrong move.

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From an aesthetic standpoint, they're attractive. From a geographic standpoint, they're terrible (perhaps Miss Teen SC assisted in the design....nice reference, Grodney-- ;) ). I think many of us said the same thing when they were originally dreamed up. I went as far as calling CCCP to tell them how confusing they were going to be and got the "thank you for your suggestions" brush off. Oh well.

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Uptown is a friggin grid, why in the world would they then designate areas with diagnal lines through that grid??? Who made these descisions? How hard is it to orient the map correctly, color in the 4 wards and then put a "you are here" marker? I dont have alot of confidence in Americans geography skills, but geez, tourists are not that stupid. Hell, you could use a map like I just described and then put a note next to it for wayfinding "That big pointy building is in the middle of the 4 colored squares" :blink:

I too was blown away when I saw the stupidity of that map. The streets already are angled NE/NW/SE/SE....they perverted this by shifting the map about 45 degrees, then RECONFUSED the issues by dividing the quadrants based on false orientation (that doesn't have anything to do with the streets).

I agree that they should have kept the ward names, but if they were intent on using cardinal directions, at least renamed 3rd Ward - Uptown South, etc.....that would have made geographic sense.

This sign could be nominated for UP's first annual :dunno: award.

EDIT: After studying the map even further, it becomes EVEN MORE MORONIC.....they twisted the map 45 degrees off of its true direction, but they also twisted it 45 degrees the less intuitive way....now South Tryon goes East, and West Trade goes South!

Also, I see they decided to consider the Blumenthal as part of Uptown East, but their arbitrary line looks likes it should be in both North and East.....

Who puts East at the top of a map?

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First, I really do like the idea that "up" is straight ahead. When I use a map to get somewhere I usually turn it so that up=forward, so in this respect the sign is pretty intuitive. It will also help tremendously when more of them appear, so that people will actually see some relative change as they move around the city, rather than seeing the same map over and over.

Unfortunately, the arbitrary and counter-intuitive diagonals screw up the whole concept. I am just astonished that, in one of the very few cities which has a true "center point" which functions as a hub for two main streets which dilineate quadrants which are further subdivided by gridded streets (come to think of it, I never before appreciated how few cities actually have this setup in the geographic center of the city), some mapmaker actually thought it would be even better to screw up the whole system and ignore the obvious boundaries of the streetscape. What's really aggravating is that the new quadrants don't cohere with each other at all... look at how BoA Stadium is in a different zone than the nearby Knights Stadium site, how a diagonal runs right through the middle of the Historic District, how the Convention Center and NASCAR HoF will end up in a different zone than the Brooklyn project.

Not that I expect this to last till the end of next year before the plan is scrapped, but it really screws up the neighborhood coherence of the Wards and works against efforts to make uptown a tourist-friendly place. Tourists are not professional cartographers, but they are generally intelligent enough to understand a grid system.

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Un friggin beleivable! Good grief, I had made the obvious mental connection that first ward would be uptown east, second ward would be uptown south, etc. At least that would work in a geographic manner and conform to the street grid. Actually seeing this sign makes me understand why this was so hated by the UP crowd.

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Real life:

clt1.jpg

How many of us think of it:

clt2.jpg

If you *must* rename things, you could do this:

clt3.jpg

Or even this:

clt4.jpg

Sooooooooo, our decision is:

cltyuck.jpg

alien.gif

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From a cartographical perspective its less than ideal. Its also an unusual way to slice up downtown. But how do people behave? How do you want them to travel on our streets? People are going to tend to walk up Trade or Tryon and then branch off on to other streets by using these maps. What these signs do is reinforce that Trade and Tryon are axes and not dividing lines.

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If you *must* rename things, you could do this:

clt3.jpg

EXACTLY!!!! Great diagrams.

What the F were these people thinking with the diagonal lines cutting blocks in half etc. I like the original wards, I'm not totally opposed to overlaying NSEW over them, but coming up with another quadrant system offset by 45 degrees is completely rediculous. Holy ****!!!! North isn't even NORTH!

If tourists can read subway maps in cities all over the world they, can figure out a basic map that splits downtown into the existin quadrants/wards. I'm guessing this was a Center City Partners idea? I know they have been stewing on this non-issue for a long time, but I lost track of it.

Man, this really really has me p_ssed off.

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Me too! I just hate this designation.

I thought the same thing about either using the wards as NSEW or NW for Fourth Ward because it has N streets and W streets, etc.. I am just stupified as to why they did this. My main thought for why the might have as it that they are mostly pointing to places around Trade or around Tryon, so the didn't care about the boundaries that cut through the middle of the wards.

I have no problem with them orienting the map based on how you are walking, but all the more reason to have the rest of the map be accurate. It isn't like people are walking around the city with a compass, so why not just let the quadrants retain their original names and cardinal directions. You are either in a ward or one one of our two main streets, what is so flipping hard to understand about that, especially when you are giving them a color coordinated, oriented map with a You Are Here star, and every conceivable tourist destination on it. In that case, they aren't really needing to see what it is called, so why not just do it correctly!?

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There's scaffolding in the way, but I wanted to show you this.

This "Walk Charlotte" map appeared recently on 2nd St, err, MLK Jr Blvd, around the corner from the Visitor center.

So as you stand to look at the sign, your back is to MLK (and the 400 South Tryon building), and Tryon is to your right.

Now look at the map.

Yes, that's right. North isn't up. And logical North isn't up. Tryon is running straight left-and-right on this map. And that's not how you, the user, are oriented when reading it. (Also note the little lowercase "n" in the upper-right that is pointing true North.)

I suppose they did it solely to fit it on the space they had available. But geez.

So if you want to get to the light rail, it is "down" the map from the "you are here" marker. But that's actually 90 degrees to the right of where you are facing to read the map.

(Oh, also note there is no mention of "Uptown South" (etc.) or the color schemes mentioned in the signs earlier in this thread.)

20080118%20001.jpg

20080118%20003.jpg

20080118%20002.jpg

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As someone who actually likes reading maps, this would drive me positively insane. What possible benefit could there be to rotating a map away from the perspective of the viewer?

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As someone who actually likes reading maps, this would drive me positively insane. What possible benefit could there be to rotating a map away from the perspective of the viewer?

Agreed. Fer cryin' out loud, most people have a hard enough time reading maps (not me, of course :whistling: ) without the orientation of the map changing from block to block, sign to sign or building to building.

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I actually emailed council, and got a very long winded, if very defensive answer, from the staff project coordinator for the whole uptown way-finding system. They didn't like my assertion that they "randomly" divided the city into abstract districts. It was nice to get detailed feedback, it still didn't convince me though.

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I also dislike that they opted to relegate the wards to just the areas that had residences 5-10 years ago. In other words, instead of keeping the traditional Trade and Tryon boundaries that have long indicated the different wards, they picked a random boundary based on a residential cluster at a single point in time. I mean, look at the boundary for 'First Ward' that they chose, it blatantly skips the area that is under construction with Enclave and Quarterside. They were really shortsighted to try to use this type of boundary rather than the unbelievably simple ACTUAL boundary of the wards (quadrisected by Trade and Tryon).

All in all, regardless of what some staffer says, these maps show possibly the least regard for the history and the 'place' of uptown, and is basically pandering to the people that are not really trying to learn about a place.

They look well done otherwise, but the actual contents of the maps are just awful.

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Anyone notice if the rest of the horrible colored Uptown South/North/etc. signs have been removed or was that only omitted on this particular map?

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