June 7, 2016 - Starting today, people in downtown Port Arthur will notice brightly-coloured signs with fun riddles and directional arrows posted at various intersections. The 45 signs scattered throughout the area are all part of the Thunder Bay Walkability Committee’s wayfinding campaign – a first for the City of Thunder Bay. (see attached)
Wayfinding is a system of signs to get more people walking and exploring by foot by posting information that helps navigate a particular area, points out places of interest and highlights community landmarks. In Thunder Bay’s campaign, each sign also displays the distance in minutes to walk to a particular location and a link to an online Google Map.
“We hope this will get more feet on the street!” says Joanna Carastathis, chair of the Walkability Committee. “The signs are a fun way to show that it’s actually very easy walk to popular downtown destinations. Many people are surprised to learn that their favourite places are only a few minutes away.”
The campaign – which continues throughout June – is not only about being more active. A by-product of its success would be more foot traffic in the downtown core.
“If we can get more people walking around the shops and restaurants in the area, we are helping to build a more vibrant and thriving downtown, Carastathis adds.
While the City works on a wayfinding plan for vehicles, feedback from this pedestrian-focused project will be used to improve the campaign and extend it to other parts of the city in the future.
The campaign coincides with the annual Commuter Challenge, a national program that encourages sustainable transportation during Canadian Environmental Week, June 5-11. The Walkability Committee is chaired by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.