Downtown Boise 'Wayfinding' Plan In the Works 

"I want to make sure we're thinking from a people perspective"

Plans to install a so-called "wayfinding" system, a concept touted by City of Boise planners for helping to orient visitors on downtown streets, moved forward at a recent board meeting of the Capital City Development Corporation, Boise's urban renewal agency.

Stakeholders for the project include the Boise City Department of Arts and History, Ada County Highway District, Idaho Smart Growth and Downtown Boise Association, according to the report, with sign location and design to be completed in stages.

Six design firms will be considered in a selection process, board members learned in a project update May 13. Goals for the project include to "make people feel welcome in downtown" and "enhance community identity" with signage pointing visitors to downtown amenities and services.

A similar program in Missoula, Mont., cost approximately $100,000, staff told the board.

Plans may include signs directing motorists from the Boise Airport to downtown garages, but Lauren McLean, member of the CCDC board and Boise City Council, hoped to see more pedestrian-focused signs.

"I want to make sure we're thinking from a people perspective," McLean said.

McLean also said wayfinding is an opportunity to "personalize" the city and "give it a really fun soul that comes through on these signs."

"I want to make sure that we don't end up looking at a product that looks like it's designed by bureaucrats," said McLean. "There's more of an art to this than a science."

A request for proposals will be issued to Ambrosini Design in Portland, Ore., Corbin Design in Traverse City, Mich., Hunt Design in Pasadena, Calif., MERJE in West Chester, Penn., RSM Design in San Clemente, Calif., and Sea Reach Ltd. in Sheridan, Ore.

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