City Manager’s Blog

Wayfinding Plan 

Helping Visitors and Residents Get around Mebane While Creating a Sense of Place.

Wayfinding in General-

Wayfinding encompasses all of the ways in which people and animals orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place. Historically, wayfinding refers to the techniques used by travelers over land and sea to find relatively unmarked and often mislabeled routes. These include but are not limited to dead reckoning, map and compass, astronomical positioning and, more recently, global positioning.

Urban planner Kevin A. Lynch borrowed the term for his 1960 book “Image of the City,” where he defined wayfinding as “a consistent use and organization of definite sensory cues from the external environment”.

Mebane’s Wayfinding Plan-

As part of a comprehensive streetscape program, establishing a consistent and coordinated system of way finding and gateway signs can provide a stronger identity for the city and clearer directions for visitors.  Gateway or "Welcome" signs not only announce the visitor's arrival into the City but create an opportunity to communicate a brand for Mebane.

Directional and destination signs would be placed for obvious destinations like city offices, parks and recreational facilities, museums, cemeteries, and historic districts, but also could be considered for lesser known destinations.  Parking lots should also be identified.

Sign design could serve to market the community with use of decorative finials, quotes, city seal,etc., and the area around the base could include landscaping. Design should reinforce the historic character of the city and match the style of existing street furniture, planters, etc.

Pole and panel material must meet required standards for safety and legibility for vehicular traffic, including letter size, color, contrast and reflectivity with break-away footing.

Locations for signs will need to be coordinated with DOT and public works, and work with other streetscape projects, utilities, etc. There is a limited amount of public space available for signage, and the small area between the sidewalk and curb will not handle large signs without restricting drivers' and pedestrians' sight lines.  Creative gateway placements offer opportunity to capture the character of the city and set the tone for the visitor's experience.  Key entry points would help advertise the historic downtown, and directional signs pointing to parking, shopping and dining would benefit businesses.

Similar individual business signs, where feasible, could be coordinated with the way finding program but should be paid for by the merchant with the city assisting with design and fabrication.

Click here for examples.

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