Downtown Naperville Wayfinding Master Plan public meeting

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The Downtown Naperville Alliance (DNA) has partnered with the City of Naperville and Hitchcock Design Group for the Downtown Naperville Wayfinding Master Plan. The project includes implementing a new coordinated system of motorist and pedestrian-scale signage.

On Thursday, April 13, a public meeting was held for the master plan, which included visualizations of the potential signs. Representatives of the project were on hand to answer residents’ questions and listen to feedback.

Connecting the signs to Naperville’s culture

Rick Hitchcock, currently of the DNA and Downtown Advisory Committee, says that existing signs in Downtown Naperville are accurate, but don’t link to the city’s culture.

“You know, it’s interesting, downtown is more than a collection of just architecture, streets and streetscapes, the Riverwalk, city hall, the library, and some cultural amenities. It is a place of commerce,” said Hitchcock. “It’s a place of huge cultural importance. And we just don’t have anything that links all of that together quite yet.”

Signage style for the Downtown Naperville Wayfinding Master Plan

The graphics of the proposed signs stem from the DNA logo, pinwheel, and tree, which took some inspiration from the City of Naperville tree image that was created in 1974.

Current signs in the city include the DNA pinwheel and a small visual of the DNA tree. The new signs would include these again but in a different style and also larger text font. Most of the new signs would be a foot wider and taller and can be attached to light and decorative poles that can stand over 10 feet tall.

There are three different types of signage being considered: directional and wayfinding, downtown identifiers, and parking signage.

Current kiosks that include information regarding all the businesses in Downtown Naperville will be updated, though whether they will become digital has not yet been decided.

What could be put along Washington Street?

Aristically-styled identification markers and planters along Washington Street are possible additions proposed by the project. And though new tree space is limited, the project does include digital planter art in a style inspired by the DNA tree. The planter art can be lit up at night and change colors for special occasions.

DNA Executive Director, Danielle Tufano, says that a crossover between the Washington Street Streetscape and the wayfinding project has been helpful for both parties.

“So we thought that while this conversation of wayfinding for our downtown has been going on for many, many years, now that a lot of these streetscape projects are taking place, this is the time to implement this wayfinding project because to have them all come together at the same time is what we need,” said Tufano.

The next step includes finalizing the project before getting it approved by the city council in the near future. The first group of signs could be installed by the end of 2023. More information and visualizations regarding the Downtown Naperville Wayfinding master plan can be found on the City of Naperville website.

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