Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New wayfinding signage coming to Prospect Heights; it will focus on cultural area, but I bet there will be directions to the arena

New pedestrian signage is coming in 2013 to Prospect Heights, notably the cultural area near Grand Army Plaza. I'll bet the signage also helpfully mentions the arena site up Flatbush Avenue.

In a 6/27/11 press release, NYC DOT Announces Search for Innovative Pedestrian Information System to Improve Walkability, Economic Vitality of City Streets: Sign system to make it easier to navigate and discover New York’s neighborhoods; Initiative is first in a series to help New Yorkers on foot, on transit, on a bike or in a car, the Department of Transportation announced:
New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) to bring a comprehensive pedestrian information system to sidewalks in key New York neighborhoods. The initiative is a critical first step in making New York City’s world-class streets easier to navigate and even more accessible for New Yorkers and visitors alike, and the first in a series of steps to improve mobility whether you’re on foot, on a bike, in a car or taking mass transit. A coordinated pedestrian information network, known as “wayfinding,” will help pedestrians crack the code for traveling to, from and around the city’s neighborhoods, business districts, transit stops and landmarks on foot. By providing clear, readable signs, pedestrians will be able to better orient themselves to determine how long it takes to walk to key locations. The RFP calls for a system and its elements to be designed and implemented in four New York City districts: Long Island City, Queens; Prospect Heights/Crown Heights, Brooklyn; and Chinatown and parts of Midtown in Manhattan.

...“Heart of Brooklyn is a partnership between Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park and Prospect Park Zoo,” said Ellen Salpeter, Director, Heart of Brooklyn. “As a major cultural destination in central Brooklyn, a comprehensive wayfinding system would measurably improve cross-visitation between and among our institutions and the local commercial corridors. From local residents and merchants to domestic and international visitors, everyone wins.”
The RFP doesn't present any more detail, requiring a consultant to:
Draft and submit for review and approval to NYCDOT a detailed siting plan for the Prospect Heights/Crown Heights in the borough of Brooklyn
Here's coverage in the Times, the Daily News, the Wall Street Journal, and Streetsblog.
 
The goal

According to the press release:
With 31 percent of all trips in New York City made by foot and 22 percent of all car trips under one mile, the city is an ideal location for launching a comprehensive pedestrian sign system to encourage walking.

The deadline to respond to the RFP is July 27. Proposals will highlight applicants’ approaches to and experiences in creating stylized, comprehensive wayfinding systems. DOT will work closely with the selected vendor and the four districts to design a standardized system based on extensive community input. Any program will be reviewed and approved by the Public Design Commission and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The consultant will then install and monitor the sign system’s effectiveness. From there, the system will be expanded to other neighborhoods that elect to install wayfinding signage.
Community consultation

The RFP requires community consultation:
At a minimum, one public stakeholder meeting is required in each of the Neighborhoods at this stage. Such meetings may require multi-lingual materials and presentations... In addition, the Consultant will meet regularly with a small Technical Advisory Committee (“TAC”) which will guide the project. The TAC will be composed of NYCDOT staff and representatives from the local maintenance partner (usually a Business Improvement District (“BID”) in each of the Neighborhoods. The Consultant will be expected to attend approximately ten TAC meetings during the course of the Contract. In addition, the Consultant will regularly communicate with NYCDOT and each of the Neighborhood’s local maintenance partner(s);


Input now


The New York Times's City Room blog also asked for input:
In most places, though, a city sign won’t tell you what you really need to know to wayfind around the neighborhood.

That is, it won’t tell you that Grand Army Plaza is a pedestrian nightmare, or that the cat outside the bodega at the end of the block does not like to be petted, or that the Starbucks on the left side of the street has surlier baristas than the one on the right.

If the city were to put signs in your neighborhood, what should they say?

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