In an effort to increase tourism, the DOT's new NYC Wayfinding Program will place maps in various New York City neighborhoods that promote local businesses and the arts and provide other useful information, such as mass transit stops.
In March, 150 of the maps will be installed in Chinatown, Midtown, Long Island City, Prospect Park, and Crown Heights. The overall cost is estimated at roughly $6 million, with most of it coming from federal money and the rest from local business improvement districts.
“We certainly don’t have any consistent information for the majority of people getting around the city on foot,” Jon Orcutt, director of policy with DOT, said at a Community Board 6 committee meeting in Brooklyn last week.
Orcutt explained that the business and art communities had reached out to DOT to create a way of directing pedestrians and visitors to their locations. However, Orcutt made it clear the DOT’s intention is to help pedestrians.
“It’s about orienting people and helping them get to where they want to go,” he said. “It’s not about marketing any one institution or even one neighborhood.”
The maps are designed to resemble subway signs with white lettering on a black background so people understand the maps are part of the transportation landscape of the city.
The maps will be designed in a “head's up” style, meaning a viewer will be shown what is directly in front of them. A traditional compass showing which way is north will be at the bottom of the map.
Another unique feature of the maps is that they include an estimated walk time to specific destinations.
Orcutt also said that some initiatives regarding the program are still in the works, such as a mobile application for smartphone users.
One board member asked if the the new bike share program would be featured on the maps, and Orcutt said that information would also be included.
As for future plans for the Wayfinding Program, Orcutt said “we anticipate it as a citywide system.”