Even locals get lost.
The city’s Department of Transportation plans to roll out a series of new signs and maps in four neighborhoods to help directionally challenged New Yorkers and tourists who visit the areas.
The proposed signs will indicate to pedestrians where they are on a map and how long it would take to walk to nearby sites. They will first appear in Chinatown, near Penn Station in Midtown, Prospect Heights in Brooklyn and Long Island City in Queens.
While some New Yorkers balked at the suggestion they need help navigating their own city, one in 10 locals told city surveyors they’d gotten lost at least once in the last week, reports the Daily News. One in three visitors to the city admitted to getting lost as well.
“We’re really trying to unlock New York City’s street system,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in announcing the proposal, reports the News. “A lot of times you can be on the cusp of a neighborhood and not know that in a five-minute walk is someplace you’ve always wanted to see.”
Although many New Yorkers assert their navigational savvy when it comes to their own neighborhoods, many cop to not knowing where the nearest subway is or how to get to a particular landmark. And one in three locals couldn’t point north, reports the News.
The city’s transportation department believes the signs will encourage walking and bolster local business by giving tourists and locals a more detailed view their immediate vicinity.
The initiative falls under the umbrella of what urban planners call "wayfinding," which refers to the means by which people orient themselves in space and navigate from place to place.
The initial roll-out will cost about $1.5 million, reports the New York Times. The city would only be responsible for covering about $300,000, according to the paper. The federal group and local business organizations would cover the rest.