An illustration of one of the types of signs the City of Victoria hopes to install in the downtown core to help residents and tourists navigate through the city. Contributed illustration.

An illustration of one of the types of signs the City of Victoria hopes to install in the downtown core to help residents and tourists navigate through the city. Contributed illustration.

City to spend $152,000 to install signs downtown

Signs will help residents, tourists move through city streets

The City of Victoria is moving forward with plans to spend $152,000 over three years to add signs to improve visitors’ and residents’ ability to navigate the downtown core.

As part of the city’s new wayfinding strategy, a number of signs and maps will be installed in the downtown core, at bus shelters, on transit poles, in parkades and over street signs, to make it easier for residents and tourists to navigate from major tourist destinations to the other, beginnning with phase one.

Phase one, which is expected to begin this year, includes the installation of 22 signs and maps at a cost of $152,000 ($25,000 of which will be provided as part of upgrades to the David Foster Harbour Pathway program. Phase two includes the installation of 26 signs in surrounding neighbourhood hubs at an estimated cost of $102,000, and phase three includes signs and integrated transit shelter signage at 63 other parts of the city.

The city does not currently have a wayfinding strategy, resulting in the “proliferation and clutter of signage and other information elements that detract from the legibility and functionality of wayfinding system elements and also detracts from the visual quailty of the public realm,” according to a staff report.

The wayfinding strategy, which is part of the Visual Victoria Planning Process, provides guidance on design, sitting and overall approach to wayfinding in the city, with a focus on signage, mapping, identification and information to engage the more than three million tourists and pedestrians as they move through the city.

Mayor Lisa Helps said the benefits of the sign will far outweigh the cost.

“We build lots of things that cost lots of money and this is something that, relatively speaking, costs little money but will have a big impact in the public realm,” she said during a meeting Thursday. “These are the kinds of investments we need to make more of — small investments that will have a big impact.”

Coun. Chris Coleman called the plan extraordinary and exciting, while Coun. Margaret Lucas noted signs are important in helping tourists move throughout the downtown.

Wayfinding refers to systems that help people find their way from one place to another and “gives pedestrians the confidence to navigate without fear while encouraging curiosity and exploration,” said the report.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com