|First of Freeway Historic Richmond Signs
December 25, 2006
Last week the first six of 24 freeway
exit signs marking Richmond points of historical interest were
installed. To see one of the six Point Richmond Historic District signs,
In 2004, I found out that a city could obtain Caltrans approval for
freeway signs providing direction to National Register historic
districts, national parks and California Historic Landmarks.
The Point Richmond Historic District has been around since 1979 with no signage, and the Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front National Historical Park is about to enter its seventh year without a single freeway sign. We in Richmond must be like those folks in Bolinas; we don’t want anyone to find us.
It seemed like a good idea for Richmond to promote its resources, and knowing how slow municipal bureaucracy is, I took it on myself to process the paperwork and obtain the required permits from Caltrans in 2004. With the help of City Council staffer Trina Jackson, I even obtained competitive bids from Caltrans approved contractors to erect the signs.
I had hoped the City of Richmond, the Chamber of Commerce or the Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau would pick up the project and get the signs installed, the total cost of which was less than $18,000. But nothing happened.
Finally, the Point Richmond Business Association, with donations from some of its members, agreed to pay for the six Point Richmond Historic District signs. Hopefully, they might cause travelers to pull off and patronize some of the local businesses or take the Historic Point Richmond Walking Tour following a handout prepared by the Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Still lacking freeway signs are the Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front National Historical Park, Shipyards Historic District (California Historic Landmark), Winehaven Historic District and Giant Powder Company, California Historic Landmark at Point Pinole Regional Park.
In addition to the signs for historic features, I am working through the Richmond/East Bay Regional Parks District Liaison Committee to get freeway signs at all the exits leading to regional parks in Richmond.
I hope the end result will cause the more than 100,000 drivers who traverse I-80 and I-580 every day to form a perception that Richmond is a city of vast regional parks and important historical resources rather than the Murder Capital of California.
What can you do to help? Press “Replay to All” and ask your City Council to please fund and install the rest of the signs.