Thursday, October 15, 2009

Windsor Locks Wayfinding Signage Program

The Windsor Locks Signage and Wayfinding Project was a natural extension of the Main Street planning effort that has been underway in the community over the last three years. In fact, enhanced signage and wayfinding was a recommendation of the Main Street Master Planning Study prepared by Ferrero-Hixon Associates that was partially funded through a Preservation of Place Grant and completed in May 2008. For this signage project we continued the services of Ferrero-Hixon Associates due to the success of the initial planning effort and their knowledge of the Main Street area. Ferrero-Hixon conducted extensive research to determine best practices related to wayfinding programs and have developed unique designs for Windsor Locks that are rooted in its history. They have identified appropriate locations for both primary signage and secondary signage with the help of the Economic and Industrial Development Commission. They have developed a unique insignia of "WL" that depicts the front of a locomotive that can be an identified sign/logo for Main Street and the community as a whole. This insignia can be used on signage, banners, promotional items, e-newsletters and more. They have begun a conversation with DOT and hopefully we can convince DOT to allow the preferred color option over their standard green or blue signage. DOT approvals will be necessary as several of the identified signage locations are within the state right-of-way.

There were several goals for this project. First, we wanted to better demarcate the "downtown" area. Windsor Locks has a very unique and challenging issue related to this as we basically have a one-sided Main Street. Nonetheless, we believe that there is a core area that can be better identified through signage and landscaping methods. Second, we wanted to highlight several interesting assets that exist in the Main Street area - primary among them is the Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail. We worked with the Department of Environmental Protection's State Parks Division and DOT to get signage to direct people to the State Park Trail. Wayfinding signage will also direct people to the other historical and outdoor recreation venues we have. An overarching goal is to take some of our underutilized assets and make them more engaging and vital to the health of the entire Main Street area. Third, a new signage program will visually enhance the Main Street area which would be a source of pride to residents and an attraction to visitors. Finally, our program will not only cater to the motoring public traveling along Main Street but we hope to incorporate elements that appeal to and inform pedesrians and bicyclists as well. So we are including pedestrian kiosks in this planning study. These kiosks can be used to help publicize events, provide maps and brochures, as well as to keep people informed about revitalization efforts along Main Street.

A public forum was held to receive input on the signage program as well as to update residents on Main Street initiatives. Ferrero-Hixon described the wayfinding system and showed the three different design options and lo-and-behold there was no consensus on the preferred design as those in attendance were evenly split on the three options. The consensus we did receive is that residents would be happy with any of the three designs. We will continue to see public feedback on the designs before making an ultimate selection. Residents were very impressed with the "WL" insignia that Ferrero-Hixon developed.

Anyone interested in getting the full signage report on disk can send an e-mail to with the name and address.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

2 is pretty cool. 3 is okay. 1 is not a good choice; it puts graphic design over functionality -- the actual locations are going to be hard to read when the signage is backlit.

As far as the Canal Park is concerned -- does part of the plan address the aesthetics of the WL endpoint?