Tourism is a major economic engine in Santa Cruz, and being able to easily navigate is critical to a positive visitor experience. In 2010 the City launched a wayfinding effort to evaluate and improve upon the experience of navigating around Santa Cruz.
More than 20 firms responded to an RFP for phase one analysis. The consultant team of MERJE Design, Lance Wyman, Timerie Gordon and Rick Engineering met with a diverse group of stakeholders, completed an evaluation of existing conditions and prioritized recommendations and strategy for improvements.
The Wayfinding Plan was adopted by City Council April 26, 2011 and available online here.
The report considers the variety of tools that users may encounter as they navigate to and through Santa Cruz, and recommends an overarching goal of decreasing visual clutter while communicating clear, friendly and integrated messaging on multiple platforms, including web, phone, signage and print materials. Achieving this goal will require continued and ongoing leadership in a complex environment of multiple stakeholder interests and evolving navigational platforms. First priority projects recommended to be initiated include the following:
- Update highway signage
- Update parking and vehicular directional signage programs
- Develop pedestrian signage between the Downtown and Beach Area
- Develop bicycle signage for the West Cliff and San Lorenzo River Levee loops
- Update and expand banner program to include district banners
- Develop orientation and online map, and hotel staff training
- Develop primary gateways into Santa Cruz (Ocean Street and Mission Street)
Unique approaches will be required for different projects, however the partnerships developed in the first phase of this project with stakeholders and the Steering Committee will provide a key foundation for implementation.