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Traffic-signal cabinet wraps

The city is looking at graphic images like this one of Sunken Gardens to serve as decorative wraps on new traffic-signal cabinets.

Every intersection in the city that has a traffic signal also has a traffic signal cabinet, usually a gray, rectangular box on one corner of the intersection housing the equipment that runs the signals.

You may never have even noticed one of the cabinets, but a city proposal would make them more visible.

As part of a new contract to replace some of the boxes, the city Public Works and Utilities Department has the option to wrap the cabinets with an image or graphic.

City staff have been working on proposed graphic designs that could go on the cabinets and showed them to the city's Urban Design Committee on Tuesday.

"It's basically the same technology you would see on a car or bus wrap," said Collin Christopher, a city planner who has been working on the designs.

Christopher said he used three basic approaches.

One is site-specific and uses pictures of historical buildings that are pertinent to specific intersections. One of the examples he presented was a historical photo of the Commercial Club building for a traffic cabinet at 11th and P streets.

The second approach is district-specific, using images such as the Haymarket Farmer's Market or downtown events such as Zoofest.

The third approach involves more-generic designs, with iconic locations such as the state Capitol or Sunken Gardens, that could be used citywide.

Christopher said the graphic wraps would be applied by the manufacturer of the traffic signal boxes before the cabinets are installed at intersections. However, the vinyl wraps generally last about five years, while the traffic cabinets would be expected to last 20 years or more. That would mean that at some point in the future, city staff would have to figure out how to remove and replace the wraps.

The wraps would likely go on cabinets in and around the downtown area first before being used in other areas of the city, Christopher said. No cost estimates were provided.

Christopher said the concept plan is in its early stages, with work still needing to be done to establish a master plan that identifies locations and priorities for where wraps should be applied citywide. He did not offer a timeline for when the first ones might appear.

The Urban Design Committee did not make a formal recommendation on the plan since it is likely to come back before the advisory group, but those members present Tuesday expressed general support for the designs.

"I think it's a good idea," said Tom Huston, who said he liked the examples that had been presented.

Images proposed to wrap city traffic cabinets:

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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