Lyfted From the Shadows
Ridesharing has transformed the way many people get around, especially to and from those places where parking is costly or scarce. The Pepsi Center – Denver’s multi-purpose arena and home to the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche and host to numerous concerts for big name musicians – is one such place. Events at the Pepsi Center attract thousands of people and require careful coordination to ensure that pedestrian and auto traffic flows safely and efficiently. When an influx of automobile traffic descends upon the Pepsi Center, rideshare drivers vie for pickup and dropoff spots. With no clear signage indicating where to do this, mass confusion routinely backed up traffic and caused chaos. Recently, the Pepsi Center signed a deal with Lyft to act as the arena’s exclusive rideshare company, and the first priority was to address this logistical issue.
Lyft had previously contacted us to bid on a sign for their Denver office. After completing that project, we heard about both their partnership with the Pepsi Center, and also the need for better directional signs to show where to catch your Lyft. They contacted RiNo Sign Works (Lakewood, CO) and asked us for a signage concept that would direct both drivers and foot traffic to designated pickup/drop-off areas. The challenge was not only the design, but also the fact that these signs had to be internally illuminated as well, and running power was not an option. The best way to light the signs, we determined, was to power them using solar panels.
To capture riders’ attention without overshadowing the venue’s environmental branding, we experimented with different elements of interaction and uses of Lyft’s logo. Working closely with the regional Lyft team and after several rounds of concepts, we nailed down the final design, which keeps the Lyft branding front and center with their fun, recognizable pink, combined with straightforward, illuminated indicators for both drivers and riders.
Before fabricating these 10-ft.-tall rideshare indicators, we had to keep in mind the minimally invasive install required for several different locations. So, we decided to fabricate every sign with a top-mounted solar panel, counting on the 300 days of sun we get here in Colorado. We connected each solar panel to a transformer housed in the base of the tower, which then could be controlled and updated by a smart phone. This system worked pretty well, though we later determined that angling the panel due south would greatly increase the solar charge.
Because we wanted the design to be sleek, we chose to keep the panel at 24 in., so it fit on the top of the sign. The top tray to hold the solar panel was designed to glow fluorescent pink and act as a beacon. Restricted to the size and intake of the panel, the lighting needed to be absolutely minimal in terms of power required, yet still bright enough to illuminate the logos and call to action. We selected Street Fighter Mini LED modules from Principal LED and strategically placed each diode in order to light everything evenly, but with the least amount possible. Our team fabricated the four sides of each sign individually, routing face-lit logos with a trimless style. The “pickup” and “drop-off” call-to-actions are push-through acrylic, which we illuminated using Principal LED’s Qwik Mod modules, as well as to light the pink beacon on top.
We started with a solid aluminum frame that would sleeve over a set steel pole. After our first install, we realized that although the pole was sturdy, it was not an efficient install strategy. We re-engineered the next few towers, eliminating the pole and beefing up the frame and bottom mounting. Not only did this make the towers stronger, it also made the install easier because no steel pole was required for the center.
For the rest of the signs, we made installation as seamless as possible. We had concrete pads poured with all-thread locations determined by creating a template of the base of the tower. After unloading a tower off the flatbed, the install team could stand it upright over the all-thread points and then simply screw the anchors into place. Planning this type of install saved our team hours of drilling.
VEGAS ROAD TRIP
In addition to the Lyft towers we made for the Pepsi Center, Lyft also wanted us to fabricate additional towers for Downtown Summerlin, an outdoor shopping center in Las Vegas. This presented one of our hardest tests for this project. The Vegas location requested a black design to better match their branding, and that we avoid disrupting shoppers. To do this, we had to crate and transport three towers (and most of our staff) to Vegas, then we had to perform an after-hours install. Our team pulled it off all in one night and arrived back in Denver the next day. Not what one would usually imagine of an all-nighter in Vegas, but still very profitable!
EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
Router: MultiCam 1000 5 x 10-ft. router, multicam.com
Metal Fabrication: SDS Automation Eco ChannelBender, sdsautomation.com; Shenzhen Poda Laser Welder, podalaser.com; Full Spectrum Laser Cutter, fslaser.com; Miller 250 MIG Welder, millerwelds.com
Substrates: A&C Plastics acrylic, acplasticsinc.com; Adhesive Solutions ASI 55420 adhesive, adhesivesolutions.com; 1/8-in. aluminum
Painting: AkzoNobel paint and automotive paint booth, akzonobel.com
Lighting: Principal LED Street Fighter Mini and Qwik Mod modules, p-led.com; Victron Energy solar panels and control system, victronenergy.com