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July 17, 2013

Rochester Wayfinding Sign Program to wrap up this month

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — Navigating the city by foot has gotten much easier over the last three years, thanks to the citywide Wayfinding Sign Program.

The Wayfinding Sign Program, organized through the Downtown Development Authority and the city, has added new welcome signs, traffic signs, pedestrian guides, parking lot signs, park and building identifiers, trail identifiers, trail guides, pedestrian maps and events signs citywide since 2011 in an effort to provide better direction to residents and visitors.

“Rochester does a lot of things well, and in 2007, the city began planning for the wayfinding project. It’s a really important piece of what a community does, letting people know where they are, and it’s taken several years to design, locate, and now — excitedly — implement the wayfinding program,” City Manager Jaymes Vettraino said.

The final phase of sign installation began in June, with park signs, directional signs outside of Main Street, as well as signs along the Clinton River Trail, the Paint Creek Trail and the Riverwalk. By the end of the month, more than 200 signs will have been installed, signaling the end of the project.

While the response from the public has been mainly positive thus far, over the last few weeks, Vettraino admitted that administrators have identified a couple of “wayward” signs and made a couple of changes on the fly with those that have gone in.

“We’ve gotten a tremendous amount of positive feedback on the signs that have been installed thus far, and we’ve also received some constructive criticism, or helpful hints, from residents that have noticed a sign that may be slightly off, or an arrow that might not make sense, or a sign that may not connect to another sign. Of course, we’re asking folks to be patient, because the project is not complete, but some of those suggestions are really good,” he said.

While the city is working out the kinks, he encouraged the public to notify city administrators if they see a wayfinding sign that doesn’t look quite right.

“Please send us an email if you see one that does look out of place because it’s our goal to get these things right. We have had a couple suggestions for added signs, and I would encourage folks to continue to send those in, too,” he said.

In August, once the project is complete, Vettraino said the city will embark on a complete audit with the installation and design company, and will then determine if a sign needs to be moved or an arrow needs to be adjusted.

“We’ve located a couple that are on this hit list,” he said.

Overall, the project — which was funded by the DDA and the city — cost less than $298,000. The city’s portion of the project, which covers the cost of the signs outside the DDA district, was less than $78,000.

Rochester City Councilmember Kim Russell said she “loves” the wayfinding signage.

“I really appreciate that they are very helpful and I think that, for the average visitor, they are going to be great,” she said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.