The Town of West Hartford is embarking on the development of a new town-wide wayfinding project that will help people find their destination easily and efficiently and encourage them to stay and enjoy West Hartford’s attractions and community assets.
The Town of West Hartford has hired MERJE as their wayfinding signage consultant. MERJE is a nationally recognized design firm with specific expertise in community wayfinding. They have worked with more than 125 communities of all sizes and aspirations in the development of similar programs.
The project begins by gathering information from residents, businesses and visitors. During this discovery stage, the consultants will seek comments through an on-line survey that will ultimately help shape the design of the system. The public is invited to take this survey and share their opinions here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X727YMK
The survey asks respondents which business districts they frequent, destinations they would recommend to a visitor, two key destinations that should be connected through wayfinding signage, four hidden gems, and the best mode of transportation for a visitor. The survey also asks respondents to rank wayfinding issues that need improving, the level of ease or difficulty in finding available parking, and parking issues that need improving. Lastly, the survey asks which digital tools should be considered to enhance a visitor’s experience in the West Hartford, including:
· Augmented reality
· Digital Display (with list of events/civic)
· Push notifications (i.e. events)
· Mobile app
· Interactive kiosk
· Interactive games
· Real time information (Parking/Transit)
The goal of the wayfinding effort is to make it easy for visitors and residents to navigate around town, promote parking opportunities, encourage local shopping and dining, and market special events.
Mayor Shari Cantor said, “We are excited to begin our wayfinding project which will improve signage to our tourism sites including museums, art galleries, parks and hiking trails, landmarks and historic sites, as well as our business districts. This project will allow us to make connections throughout our community. We would love to have your input so please respond to the survey.”
“We want to create a well-designed and consistent wayfinding signage system throughout town that includes pedestrian-scale signs, maps, and directional information for motorists,” said Kristen Gorski, Economic Development Coordinator, Town of West Hartford.
“At its core, this is a public awareness project. It is about enhancing the visitor’s experience when they come to West Hartford. While the signage is the visual part of the project, it is not the only aspect. Our goal is to help visitors find their destinations easily so they begin their visit with a positive experience. This initial interaction will encourage them to stay longer and discover new reasons to come back for future visits with their friends and family,” said John Bosio, principal, MERJE.
The development of a comprehensive signage program will help to direct residents, employees, and visitors to their destination. Currently, people are given few visual clues about the area and the signage that exists is inconsistent or out of date. When the project is complete, the signage will have unified branding throughout the Town.
West Hartford Town Council allocated $500,000 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for this project including the consultant fee, program design and development, fabrication, and installation.
To learn more about West Hartford’s new wayfinding project, visit https://www.westhartfordct.gov/town-departments/planning-zoning/west-hartford-wayfinding-signage-project