For decades the southern entrance to the City of Half Moon Bay was weakly defined. As a result, the historical downtown district, the core of the city, was often overlooked due to its off-the-main-road location and poor wayfinding signage.
The planned realignment of the intersection at South Main Street and Highway 1, including a new traffic signal, crosswalks, and trail connections, presented an opportunity for the development of a notable entry statement with useful signage. Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group, working with the City of Half Moon Bay and Mark Thomas Civil Engineers, developed a new feature that announces the City’s gateway in a unique manner befitting the character of the coastal town.
KKDG developed multiple design scenarios for the City’s consideration during fall 2018. The selected design comprises two curved walls around the north and south sides of the intersection, surrounded by gently bermed native plantings. This combination of architectural and natural landforms is a cohesive statement that reflects and enhances the natural elements of the coast.
Text on the two sign walls welcomes visitors to Half Moon Bay, but also identify the southern entrance to the historical downtown commercial core. The opportunity for posting special event notices is incorporated in the south sign, as special events are the heart and soul of this community.
The elliptical, concave shape of these concrete sign walls evokes not only the physical shape of the bay that Half Moon Bay is named for, but also approximates the layered geological character of the coastal bluffs. The wall itself will be comprised of multiple layers of colored concrete in discrete shades to reflect the layered strata exposed on the adjacent cliffs. The surface of the wall will be heavily sandblasted to characterize a natural texture.
The area surrounding the sign walls will be sculpted into gently undulating, mounded landforms. This more “natural” statement will reflect the coastal hills and adjacent agricultural plantings with drifts of grasses and native plantings that will interweave and flow across the landscape. This will continue the theme KKDG developed for the adjacent Highway 1 median islands.
The project will be processed by Caltrans, partially funded by San Mateo County Measure A funds, and the City of Half Moon Bay. Construction documentation is underway and construction will commence in fall 2019.
Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group has also been hired by the City to participate in the design of the City’s North Highway 1 Safety Improvements gateway project starting in late summer 2019.