New “Wayfinder” Sign System Introduced in Chinatown

This week marks the first installation of a new WalkNYC program, a comprehensive “wayfinding” sign system, to help both New Yorkers and tourists navigate through the city, as easily as possible.

Worth Street Wayfinder photo by thelodownny.com

The freestanding stainless steel sign on the corner of Mulberry and Worth streets is the first of four signs to be placed in Chinatown. One-hundred more like it are expected to be placed throughout the city, starting in areas of high volume and heavy usage of the transit systems.  Prime locations include:  Select Bus Service routes and subway stations.

“It is a comprehensive wayfinding map—the first in New York City and today, we’re unveiling the results of the study,” said Jeanette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the New York City DOT.

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Jeanette Sadik-Khan speaking at Mulberry and Worth Streets where the first sign is located.

This signage system includes either an 18, 34 or 50 inch wide by 8.5 foot tall sign with a map that shows the exact locations of major interest points, transit sites, cross streets and even the time it would take to get to a destination. The system is meant to be simple and convenient for its users with a “heads-up” map, oriented in the direction the viewer is facing. A version has already been placed at over 300 of the Citibike stations throughout the city.

“The idea behind WalkNYC is very simple: Easy to read maps with local destinations like transit stations, and it includes building numbers and a radial marker system so you know just how many minutes it will take you to walk to your destination,” Sadik-Khan said.

“If people know where they are heading, they’re much more likely to explore the city with their wallets,” the commissioner said.

The $6 million program is eighty-percent funded by the federal government along with local partners, including the Chinatown Business Improvement District;  the Brooklyn Children’s Museum; the Fashion Center BID, the 34th  street Partnership and the Long Island City Partnership. Though only in Manhattan for now, plans to bring these structures through the five boroughs is in the works starting with SBS lines at 34th St. in Manhattan and Nostrand Ave in Brooklyn.