New ‘Wayfinding’ signage should help wayward drivers

Sometime next year, Port Orchard citizens and visitors will begin seeing a new face on some of its directional street signs that welcome residents and visitors to the city.

Proposed signage to be installed on Tremont Street

Sometime next year, Port Orchard citizens and visitors will begin seeing a new face on some of its directional street signs that welcome residents and visitors to the city.

And those unfamiliar with the city should have an easier time navigating their way to Port Orchard’s landmarks and attractions.

A comprehensive, detailed common identity plan developed by the city’s Development office is finally about to reach the fabrication and installation stage when newly designed signage will begin appearing on city streets and at city buildings. Under a $40,000 contract with Portland-based Ambrosini Design, the city now has a plan to unify its street and building identification signage so that drivers are better able to navigate Port Orchard’s streets.

The city effort, otherwise known as the “Wayfinding” sign project, has been a civic priority for nearly 12 years. In fact, it was the top priority project on Port Orchard’s 2004 economic development plan, said Nick Bond, the city’s development director.

“We’re finally accomplishing the first thing on that list,” Bond mused.

“The first wave of the Wayfinding project is to get signs up that will better enable people to get from Highway 16 to downtown,” Bond said. “We also have made a priority of getting a couple of signs downtown at the ferry dock that provide foot-ferry visitors with some information.”

Bond said that information most likely be presented from a kiosk, which he said is to be funded by the City Council through the existing hotel-motel tax fund.

When the Tremont project eventually happens, he said. “You’ll probably see a gateway sign as part of it. The McCormick Park project also will have a new sign.”

A phased signage plan

That first wave of signage should include five or six signs fabricated and installed next year, he said. Bids for fabrication and installation  of the signs, which feature a “less is more” stylized blue-dominated design, will be solicited sometime in 2016.

Bond said that local sign firms will need to get placed on the city’s small-works roster in order to be considered for the work.

Construction designs were delivered by Ambrosini to the city this fall so that the bidding process for construction and fabrication can get underway.

If all elements of the signage project are implemented over the next few years, Port Orchard’s downtown and main arterials will be equipped with unified signs that clearly identify parks, government buildings, playfields and civic attractions.

According to the Ambrosini design specs, the Wayfinding system will “provide effective wayfinding for pedestrians and vehicles between major destinations throughout the city.”

The system, Ambrosini designers say, also will:

— Cultivate an overall “Sense of Place” for the community.

— Enhance and reinforce the unique experience for residents and visitors as they navigate the city.

— Enhance and reinforce the city boundaries with gateway and identity treatments.

— Work in conjunction with existing signage and enhance the overall wayfinding system.

— Provide necessary information in a clear, concise and minimal manner, while not adding to the visual clutter.

— Be cost effective.

— Allow for ease of updating and maintenance.

A heavy emphasis has been placed on designing a wayfinding system so that first-time and infrequent visitors can more easily navigate the city and gain a better understanding of its boundaries.

“We’ll use this system to get people to navigate up Tremont and down to Port Orchard Boulevard and into downtown, as well as to other city destinations,” Bond said. “That also includes identification for county facilities. If you’re not familiar with the area, finding the Kitsap County Administration Building isn’t an easy thing to do.”

The new signage also will address recent city annexations, he said.

“We just had a meeting with the Washington Department of Transportation concerning signage along Highway 16 into Port Orchard.

“When we annexed Sedgwick and McCormick Woods, signs for Port Orchard were not on the left side of the road. The existing signage on the right side is from the pre-annexation days.

“We’re asking them (WDOT) to revise some signs and have asked them to get the words ‘City Center’ on the Tremont Street exit so that drivers have some indication that there is a ‘center’ to Port Orchard, and that there’s an exit they can use to get there.”

City’s growth and identity

Unified city signage that clearly identifies locations and directions is more vital to a city’s growth and identity than most might believe, Bond said.

“If you look at most vibrant downtowns, they have some form of a wayfinding signage system,” he noted. “Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Bellingham and Olympia are good examples of this. It’s a very common thing that small cities do on their way to becoming a vibrant and tourist-friendly place.

“We need an identity for Port Orchard.”

Bond said the city’s lack of identity was the first thing he noticed when he took the job here at the city’s development director. “When I came here — I didn’t grow up in Port Orchard — I had no idea where to go when I got off on Tremont to go to my job interview. People who grew up and have lived here for years know where they’re going. It’s not obvious to them that someone coming into Port Orchard would need some help finding their way to downtown.”

Costs for the phased signage project will be determined later next year when bids for fabrication and installation are received.

Bond acknowledged that it’s likely not all locations identified in the Ambrosini plan will ultimately be signed. “We’ll keep allocating money for the project until we feel we have enough,” Bond said.

There’s one element to the signage project that features good news for taxpayers and bad news for vandals. “The new signs will be vandal-resistant, so don’t even try!” Bond laughed.

The Wayfinding project also produced a new civic logo for Port Orchard. Ambrosini Design conducted an exhaustive effort to produce a logo that best portrays the feel of Port Orchard, Bond said.

Bond, Public Works director Mark Dorsey and a citizens committee sifted through up to 500 designs and iterations before selecting three general designs.

They were presented to the City Council last November, which then chose the final design.

Bond said the logo design was accomplished through a $15,000 design bid by Ambrosini.

The logo, which also uses a clean and stylized blue design, is to be used by the city for its letters, documents and as a nesting place on its website. Bond said those wanting to use the logo must get approval from the city.

Sometime next year, Port Orchard citizens and visitors will begin seeing a new face on some of its directional street signs that welcome residents and visitors to the city.

And those unfamiliar with the city should have an easier time navigating their way to Port Orchard’s landmarks and attractions.

A comprehensive, detailed common identity plan developed by the city’s Development office is finally about to reach the fabrication and installation stage when newly designed signage will begin appearing on city streets and at city buildings. Under a $40,000 contract with Portland-based Ambrosini Design, the city now has a plan to unify its street and building identification signage so that drivers are better able to navigate Port Orchard’s streets.

The city effort, otherwise known as the “Wayfinding” sign project, has been a civic priority for nearly 12 years. In fact, it was the top priority project on Port Orchard’s 2004 economic development plan, said Nick Bond, the city’s development director.

“We’re finally accomplishing the first thing on that list,” Bond mused.

“The first wave of the Wayfinding project is to get signs up that will better enable people to get from Highway 16 to downtown,” Bond said. “We also have made a priority of getting a couple of signs downtown at the ferry dock that provide foot-ferry visitors with some information.”

Bond said that information most likely be presented from a kiosk, which he said is to be funded by the City Council through the existing hotel-motel tax fund.

When the Tremont project eventually happens, he said. “You’ll probably see a gateway sign as part of it. The McCormick Park project also will have a new sign.”

A phased signage plan

That first wave of signage should include five or six signs fabricated and installed next year, he said. Bids for fabrication and installation  of the signs, which feature a “less is more” stylized blue-dominated design, will be solicited sometime in 2016.

Bond said that local sign firms will need to get placed on the city’s small-works roster in order to be considered for the work.

Construction designs were delivered by Ambrosini to the city this fall so that the bidding process for construction and fabrication can get underway.

If all elements of the signage project are implemented over the next few years, Port Orchard’s downtown and main arterials will be equipped with unified signs that clearly identify parks, government buildings, playfields and civic attractions.

According to the Ambrosini design specs, the Wayfinding system will “provide effective wayfinding for pedestrians and vehicles between major destinations throughout the city.”

The system, Ambrosini designers say, also will:

— Cultivate an overall “Sense of Place” for the community.

— Enhance and reinforce the unique experience for residents and visitors as they navigate the city.

— Enhance and reinforce the city boundaries with gateway and identity treatments.

— Work in conjunction with existing signage and enhance the overall wayfinding system.

— Provide necessary information in a clear, concise and minimal manner, while not adding to the visual clutter.

— Be cost effective.

— Allow for ease of updating and maintenance.

A heavy emphasis has been placed on designing a wayfinding system so that first-time and infrequent visitors can more easily navigate the city and gain a better understanding of its boundaries.

“We’ll use this system to get people to navigate up Tremont and down to Port Orchard Boulevard and into downtown, as well as to other city destinations,” Bond said. “That also includes identification for county facilities. If you’re not familiar with the area, finding the Kitsap County Administration Building isn’t an easy thing to do.”

The new signage also will address recent city annexations, he said.

“We just had a meeting with the Washington Department of Transportation concerning signage along Highway 16 into Port Orchard.

“When we annexed Sedgwick and McCormick Woods, signs for Port Orchard were not on the left side of the road. The existing signage on the right side is from the pre-annexation days.

“We’re asking them (WDOT) to revise some signs and have asked them to get the words ‘City Center’ on the Tremont Street exit so that drivers have some indication that there is a ‘center’ to Port Orchard, and that there’s an exit they can use to get there.”

City’s growth and identity

Unified city signage that clearly identifies locations and directions is more vital to a city’s growth and identity than most might believe, Bond said.

“If you look at most vibrant downtowns, they have some form of a wayfinding signage system,” he noted. “Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Bellingham and Olympia are good examples of this. It’s a very common thing that small cities do on their way to becoming a vibrant and tourist-friendly place.

“We need an identity for Port Orchard.”

Bond said the city’s lack of identity was the first thing he noticed when he took the job here at the city’s development director. “When I came here — I didn’t grow up in Port Orchard — I had no idea where to go when I got off on Tremont to go to my job interview. People who grew up and have lived here for years know where they’re going. It’s not obvious to them that someone coming into Port Orchard would need some help finding their way to downtown.”

Costs for the phased signage project will be determined later next year when bids for fabrication and installation are received.

Bond acknowledged that it’s likely not all locations identified in the Ambrosini plan will ultimately be signed. “We’ll keep allocating money for the project until we feel we have enough,” Bond said.

There’s one element to the signage project that features good news for taxpayers and bad news for vandals. “The new signs will be vandal-resistant, so don’t even try!” Bond laughed.

The Wayfinding project also produced a new civic logo for Port Orchard. Ambrosini Design conducted an exhaustive effort to produce a logo that best portrays the feel of Port Orchard, Bond said.

Bond, Public Works director Mark Dorsey and a citizens committee sifted through up to 500 designs and iterations before selecting three general designs.

They were presented to the City Council last November, which then chose the final design.

Bond said the logo design was accomplished through a $15,000 design bid by Ambrosini.

The logo, which also uses a clean and stylized blue design, is to be used by the city for its letters, documents and as a nesting place on its website. Bond said those wanting to use the logo must get approval from the city.

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