Why we did this
Our hypothesis? Illuminated street name signs can help people navigating less familiar neighborhoods.
In the winter of 2012, the City hung street name signs at three locations in Downtown Crossing. We illuminated them with high-efficiency LED (light emitting diode) technology. They could be seen at night from several hundred feet away. These 3- to 4-feet long by 1 foot tall signs were 35% bigger than the street name signs in the area.
To make the signs, we used three separate vendors after reaching out to a variety of sign companies. The signs — which were free — were tested for about a year. In that year, the City learned what it would take to maintain them. Also, local residents and businesses were able to offer to offer feedback.
Results and lessons learned
Based on the signs’ popularity, we plan to scale up these signs throughout Downtown Crossing in 2013-2014. This project is funded through the Streetscape Innovation Fund.
City staff, based on their experience with the two initial signs, re-drafted the specifics for signs before the full roll out. This re-working of the details will make the signs easier to hang and maintain.