Grantee Blog 2020

The Sign Planning Begins

To get this directional sign project off the ground we’re approaching things a little differently. Normally we would contact the City of Elizabeth first to approach them on ideas, permits, design, etc. so we could work together to determine details like the number of signs, information to go on them, and design drafts.

However, because the city’s focus is on the pandemic right now, we think we could move the project along faster if we approach them with plans and an example of what we’re aiming for in hand. That way the city can easily see what we’re thinking of doing and just offer edits as needed instead of trying to helps us build these signs from scratch. So our first step for this project was to walk the Elizabeth River Trail and get an idea of how many signs were needed, what the best possible locations for the signs were, and what destinations we should include as ones that can be reached by the trail.

Interestingly, what stands out the most about the Elizabeth River Trail when walking it is that it is not one obviously connected trail—a street cuts the trail in half. Which means that the trail technically has 4 entrances to it – the two at either end of the trail, and the two in the center. This makes sense from a planning perspective because the trail was installed in phases, but practically it means most people probably don’t realize the trail runs 1.5 miles in one direction. They think it stops less than a mile in at the street.

Moreover, depending on where you exit the trail and how far you walk, there are a large variety of destinations available from public libraries and school buildings to restaurants and government buildings. We’re trying to focus on a few destinations that most people living in the area would be interested in. And those destinations are probably going to be within a 5-block radius of the trail so they’re not too far to walk to.

Based on these observations, we’re thinking of installing 4 signs, one at each entrance to the trail. Ideally the signs will be colorful and hung on a wood or metal post roughly 5.5ft high so it’s close to eye level and easily visible. Now that we know this, we can work on creating drafts of the sign designs with our vendor for printing the signs so we can take those drafts to the city when we present our proposal to them.

About the Grantee

The Gateway Family YMCA

The Gateway Family YMCA (TGFY) is a community-based organization rooted in Christian principles and committed to building healthy lives through programs that strengthen minds, bodies and spirits for people of all ages, religions and cultures. The leader of the Shaping Elizabeth coalition, TGFY is committed towards supporting the health, nutrition and physical activity of all Elizabeth residents.