Keeping an Eye on the CAP: Wayfinding

Introduction

When I first explored the interior of the Frankie Pace Park, I was surprised by the wayfinding approach. A series of signs are posted throughout the site describing different features of the park, such as the rain garden. The surprising part was the choice of a Black girl narrator who wants you to join her as you journey through the park. It felt like the intended audience is elementary school-aged children. Given the park’s location adjacent to the tallest office skyscrapers downtown, adjacent to the first new building to be built on the Lower Hill – another office building, and kitty-corner-ish to the Penguins hockey arena, children seem to be a very small percentage of the prospective users of the park.


The CAP is a project in Pittsburgh “fixing the mistakes” of Urban Renewal. The Crosstown Blvd was built in the 1960s creating a freeway in a canyon dividing the Lower Hill neighborhood from downtown. The Lower Hill neighborhood, formerly predominantly poor and black, had already been demolished by this point to make way for the Civic Arena and other cultural amenities that were never built.

The CAP is a park on a bridge built over the Crosstown Blvd and is intended to reconnect downtown and the Lower Hill, while the Lower Hill is being rebuilt by the Penguins hockey team. Construction began in June 2019 and was completed in November 2021.


Below is a slideshow of these wayfinding signs. At the end of the post, there are links to all the previous posts in the series.


The Photos


The Map


The Series

Keeping an Eye on the CAP: Aug. 2022

Keeping an Eye on the CAP: Ribbon Cutting

Keeping an Eye on the CAP: Nov. 2021

Keeping an Eye on the CAP: May 2021

Keeping an Eye on the CAP: Dec. 2020

Keeping an Eye on the CAP: Jun. 2020

Keeping an Eye on the CAP: Dec. 2019

Keeping an Eye on Uptown: Introduction

3 thoughts on “Keeping an Eye on the CAP: Wayfinding

  1. Pingback: Keeping an Eye on the CAP: Public Art | urbantraipsing

  2. In all due respect, was the land in the Hill District for the Civic Arena to be built upon taken by Imminent Domain? And if so, was the area already in a bad way? Did the city planners really think that this would be a good thing for the struggling community?
    I would really like to know. I have seen pictures of the hill district of the African-American community and how the businesses were thriving and the people seemed happy even if they were poor; they were there to support each other and a great community existed, was this the case when the city took the land and homes?

    • Hi MJ,

      Sadly, I believe the answer to your questions is yes. The Lower Hill as I’ve heard it described was a poor, but thriving and strong community. The lack of maintenance of the buildings gave the City the excuse to take the land through eminent domain, demolish what was there, and build something new “for the public good.” Sixty years after the damage was done the current developers are “undoing” that Urban Renewal project and “reconnecting” the Hill District to downtown. I am Keeping an Eye on this development.

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