Midtown Raleigh News

‘Walk Raleigh’ signs grounded for now

Five weeks after local graduate student Matt Tomasulo put up “guerilla wayfaring” signs at three Raleigh intersections to encourage walking in the city, officials have removed the signs pending proper permits.

Posted on utility poles at the intersection of Wilmington and Hargett streets downtown and at two other corners near Cameron Village and N.C. State University, the signs announced walk times to parks, museums, the Amtrak station and other destinations. Tomasulo put them up with some friends overnight and without permission in January.

City Planning Director Mitchell Silver said he would look for ways to incorporate the walking-time messages into Raleigh’s pedestrian plan and its official way-finding signs for downtown visitors. In the meantime, Silver removed the signs himself Wednesday.

Silver said via email Thursday that he is meeting with Tomasulo this weekend to brainstorm how to continue to promote walking and healthy living.

“Yes, they didn’t get proper permits, but it shows a level of passion and commitment to a city and encourages walking,” Silver said. “We want to work with this younger generation to capture that energy to build a future city they want to see.”

The project, which Tomasulo calls “Walk Raleigh,” drew international attention last week when the BBC aired TV and radio reports on the project and Atlantic Monthly magazine discussed it online.

The city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission has invited Tomasulo to speak about Walk Raleigh at a future meeting.

Tomasulo is a graduate student working on a dual degree in landscape architecture at N.C. State University and urban planning at UNC-Chapel Hill. He founded CityFabric, a tiny company that gained interest for its localized T-shirts and tote bags printed with city grids, last year. That company created the cash flow for Tomasulo’s community projects such as Walk Raleigh.