STO, change the stop signs while you’re at it!
Aylmer’s primary asset is its Heritage Quarter -- the lovely historic buildings and the businesses they house in the heart of town.
Some of the street furniture reflects this -- lampposts, art benches, wooden flower pots and modest banners. However, certain elements in the neighbourhood clash with the heritage-inspired furniture and the urban decor. These include the STO bus stop signs, some attached to heritage lampposts. These bland signs counter the lampposts’ purpose of perking up rue Principale.
The STO is overhauling the local bus network; many routes will change. Bus stops will need to reflect these modifications. This is the perfect time for the STO to install new bus stops that would compliment Aylmer’s Heritage Quarter.
If the STO could be inspired to marry aesthetics with utility, Gatineau might change its own drab signs. Moreover, Gatineau does request, through by-laws on site planning and architectural integration, that businesses install attractive signs which blend with the building’s façade, architecture and the urban landscape. Freestanding signs must be compatible and enhance the urban landscape.
Some might sneer at new expenditure, but the devil is in the details. It is the little things that help a desired image. Street furniture, decor and heritage bus stop signs can add authenticity to a heritage quarter.
A sign’s design can help reinforce a site’s image and make the whole area more appealing. This could encourage other Old Aylmer stakeholders to further contribute to re-enforcing the quarter’s image.
Signs provide valuable information to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, and they can do so in a stimulating fashion. Providing a site-specific design can help situate someone from out of town. Tourists will realize they are in a special part of town.
The recently renovated British Hotel is a case in point. Millions were invested to restore this heritage building and the return on the investment is not guaranteed. Millions of public dollars were spent to redesign rue Principale and bury wires a decade ago. Why can the STO not push in the same general direction as most Old Aylmer stakeholders ?