Smart new signs across York will help visitors find their way around the city when lockdown ends.
The wayfinding scheme, which saw 50 new signs installed across the city centre, has now been completed.
It was a joint initiative between York BID (Business Improvement District), City of York Council and York Civic Trust.
Most striking are the totems, which include orientation maps. They have been designed by accessibility experts to ensure that the fonts and colours used, and the height of the displays, make these accessible for disabled people.
The new signs have replaced the green fingerposts that were installed in the 1990s and were looking old and tatty.
They also did not meet modern-day standards for accessibility, and often sent people the wrong direction.
A spokesperson for the BID said: “Public feedback has shown there is a fondness for the green fingerposts, but also acknowledges that the new maps allow a greater variety of information to be displayed.”
Most of the old fingerposts have now been removed in 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.
High quality and modern
A variety of consultation was also done with the public and city stakeholders.
Andrew Lowson, executive director at the BID, said: “As we prepare to welcome visitors back to our city, it is fantastic that we have high quality, modern signage to showcase our range of attractions.
“The scheme design is sympathetic to the York stone that dominates the landscape; but also contemporary in nature. It will help people explore the city, which is good for the visitor and good for business”.
Cllr Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities, said: “Improving our signage will help everyone find their way round a complex, fascinating network of streets and snickleways in York.
“This investment will compliment York’s recovery plans as we continue to move out of the national lockdown and start to welcome back residents and visitors to York.”
Duncan Marks of York Civic Trust said they were delighted by the scheme. “The York totems offer a modern, sleek and yet subtle form of wayfinding, meaning they will greatly assist visitors in finding key destinations in the city, including our rich heritage, and yet not unduly distract from the city’s many spectacular sites and vistas.”
The new signs also encourage visitors to explore periphery streets and visit locations they may not have been aware of.
The BID Board committed £350k to this project and in February 2019 City of York Council committed £350k match funding, although the project has been brought in well under budget for a combined £475k.