New wayfinding signage installed in York.
New signage has been installed across York as part of a joint initiative between York BID (Business Improvement District), City of York Council and York Civic Trust to make it easier for visitors and residents to find their way around the city centre.
The new signs replace the existing green fingerposts which are showing signs of age and do not meet modern-day standards for accessibility.
This is the culmination of a four year project which began in 2017 when the BID established a steering group involving businesses, the Civic Trust and the council.
Wayfinding experts Momentum were commissioned to design a scheme that incorporated contemporary wayfinding design, with an aesthetic that is in keeping with the heritage of York.
An extensive consultation exercise was conducted with businesses, visitors, locals, disability groups and further public stakeholders. Feedback on the design was overwhelmingly positive.
A trial wayfinding totem was installed in St Helens Square during the August 2018 and has now become a familiar and well-used part of the landscape.
“As a major UK tourist destination, it is crucial that we provide high quality, useful signage to showcase the myriad of cultural and retail opportunities within the city centre,” comments Andrew Lowson, executive director of York BID. ‘With increased number of people walking, the installation of these signs are timely and will help people explore periphery streets, as well as the well known streets in the centre.’
The multifunctional totems have been designed by accessibility experts to ensure that fonts and colours used, and even the height of the displays, make these accessible for disabled people, addressing one of the key issues regarding the practicality of the old fingerpost signs.
Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said: “Improving our signage will help residents and visitors find their way round a complex, fascinating network of streets and snickleways in York. This investment will compliment York’s recovery plans, supporting our city’s businesses, cultural sites and attractions at a time it is needed most. We thank everyone for their feedback on the trial boards we introduced in St Helen’s Square and look forward to seeing all the new boards in place across the city centre later this year.”
Elizabeth Heaps of the Civic Trust, said “Visitors and residents of cities have rightly come to expect modern, informative and contextual signage. Sometimes you know where you want to be and are looking for the quickest route, while at other times you want to go off track and explore. With the new signs, you will never be lost - unless you want to be!"
In addition to their primary function of helping people get to their chosen destination, the new signs will encourage visitors to explore periphery streets and visit locations they may not have been aware of.
A total of 50 signs will be installed providing a ‘breadcrumb’ trail to guide visitors through the city streets. The BID Board committed £350k to this project and in February 2019 City of York Council committed £350k match funding, although the final project was brought in well under budget for a combined £475k.