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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA

City Wayfinding Program

The wayfinding sign mockups evaluation phase and the Draft Wayfinding Design Guidelines Manual are now available for review and comment. Your feedback is important and will directly inform refinements made to the design concepts prior to finalizing the Wayfinding Design Guidelines Manual.

When providing your comments, please include the following information as applicable:

  1. Are you commenting on the Draft Design Guidelines Manual or the Mockups Evaluation Phase?
  2. Is there a specific page number you're referring to?
  3. Which specific sign type?

As a reminder: The purpose of full size mockups is to test and confirm appropriateness of the approved concept related to design, color choice, scale, font, overall style, location, mounting issues, ground plane conditions, and legibility of the text.  Mockup message content is intended to be generally accurate, but is still subject to review and editing.

Your observations and feedback will be grouped by topic and responded to, and will directly inform the refinements made to the design concepts prior to finalizing the Wayfinding Design Guidelines Manual, which will go to Planning Commission for review in the Fall. Only written comments (received via mail, email, or this discussion board) will be evaluated for inclusion in the Manual.

The City of Alexandria encourages public comments on the issues presented on our sites. Please be sure that your comments relate to the topic of the board on which they're posted. Please do not post any comments that attack or threaten another person, misrepresent the source, are obscene or use profanity, give out someone's personal information, promote unlawful discrimination, contain irrelevant references to commercial businesses, are illegal, or duplicate your previous comments on the same board.

The City reserves the right, but assumes no obligation, to remove comments that violate this policy. If you would like to request a City service, please use our Call.Click.Connect. system instead. Information submitted on our sites may be retained or disclosed in accordance with law.
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7 Comments

Carlyle House, a 1753 house museum and garden operated by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, is very supportive of the City of Alexandria’s new wayfinding program. The pedestrian kiosks, maps and parking information signs will assist visitors in locating the city’s wonderful historic sites and museums.

We would like to comment on one area of potential confusion. Currently on “Vehicular Directional DR1,” located on Washington St., northbound, a sign points to the Carlyle district west of the city (referred to in the manual on page 25 as District Tier B).

We believe this will create unnecessary confusion for visitors wishing to locate Carlyle House (listed in the manual on page 25 as a Museums/Historic Attraction Tier B).

Carlyle House was built by one of the original town founders, John Carlyle. It is unique in this region as one of the only stone 18th-century Palladian homes. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Carlyle House tells the story of Alexandria’s earliest history. Carlyle House attracts 20,000 visitors each year.

We understand that the term “Carlyle” is now being used to refer to the development south of the King Street Metro. We are proud that John Carlyle’s name has had a lasting legacy in the town he helped create. We do, however, feel that the term “Carlyle” by itself should not be on Vehicular Directional signs. We have already received calls from confused visitors and locals regarding the similar names.

Thank you for your time. We appreciate the hard work the city is putting into directional signage and look forward to our visitors benefitting from the finished product.

Sarah Coster
Assistant Site Administrator
Carlyle House Historic Park
121 N. Fairfax St.
Alexandria, VA 22314

Sarah Coster (177) | User | July 2, 2010 - 11:01 AM

Wayfinding Signs‏
From: Hal HARDAWAY (halhardaway@msn.com)
Sent: Thu 7/01/10 11:46 AM
To: carriebeach@alexandriava.gov
Carrie,

As I mentioned last evening, this is a first class initiative.

Here are some thoughts, which might already be incorporated into the planning already:

Signs should be geographically oriented in their particular placement, even if it means making mirror image signs. For example, there's a really nice sign near Chadwick's that gives directions for those walking along the waterfront. But as one looks at the sign with the actual river to the left, the river on the sign is to the right. A lot of people will just give up when trying to make the mirror image flip mentally.

Mentioned to you my pet peeve nationally with the ambiguity between multiple road names, and route numbers. For major thoroughfares, like Washington Street/GW Parkway, would be nice if signs incorporated all names. I always have to tell those seeking directions that the GW Parkway is Washington Street in Alexandria, as it's not necessarily intuitively obvious.

Likewise with route numbers. I live on South Union Street, and you wouldn't believe how often I give directions to people looking for Route 1 (or is it Patrick Street, Henry Street, Jeff Davis Highway or Richmond Highway?) I've collected some city maps off the free trolley to give them, with directions hand-marked thereon. Bottom line is I think there should be signs at every east-west running street in Old Town with directions to Route 1 (and all its aliases). A corollary of this is directions to the beltway and Wilson Bridge.

Signs indicating the direction simply to "The River" would be nice, and charismatic. An easy one, but I'm always gettting asked about that.

Can't remember, but any signs with the Metro train icon should also include the AMTRAK logo. Airport markings would also be nice. It would all be subtle advertising for Alexandria's superb location for transport connectivity.

We talked about the elegantly simple signs in central London indicated "The North, The South, The East, The West". You're probably right that Americans aren't so oriented, but it would lend itself to OT's grid pattern and generally cardinal orientation.

Thanks for bearing with these ramblings, and keep up the good work.

Hal Hardaway
311 South Union Street
434.645.9897 Mobile

Hal Hardaway (176) | User | July 1, 2010 - 11:49 AM

The sandwich boards have been very successful for small business in Old Town. By allowing for the names or type of business we are much more apt to reap the rewards of all the effort of wayfinding. I believe that actual logos of business is really important, an annual fee for the marketing opprotunity would be in the best interest of the city and the business. A fee would allow for annual upkeep and at 25.00 per month moght make the program viable. But the business would really benfit from its logo and or name being posted. Thank you for all your efforts.

Craig Noah (166) | User | May 28, 2010 - 4:06 PM

The second sign at the web site directs traffic to Carlyle West on Duke Street from traffic going North on Washington Street. This is confusing. There is also a very popular Historic Property in Alexandria which is the Carlyle House. I think this will only confuse those who are seeking the carlyle House.

deborah rudolph (165) | User | May 27, 2010 - 1:39 PM

Looks great - My only suggestion would be to include a web address on each sign for more information. Over time, this could be used to indicate maps to parking lots with availability, more details on historic sites or walking directions from a smartphone. Each sign could have its own address or it could be general. Good luck with this initiative.

Ken Lopez (163) | User | May 19, 2010 - 2:30 PM


On both CG 1 and CG2 with their brick foundation construction and to use that to be able to create a memorial area or engrave bricks like the King Street Garden Park Foundation does to sell bricks to finance their expenses and so can the City sell either some of the bricks or a plaque engraved to suit the Sponsor of that Gateway. Or , as I mentioned to use them as memorials as well as the beautiful Gateways they will be.
I fully support everything I am seeing at this time for the signage.

David M Martin (162) | User | May 19, 2010 - 2:19 PM

After briefly reviewing the draft manual, I find I agree with many of its conclusions, especially that signage around the city would benefit from a unified "brand", both for aesthetic reasons and to help people navigate. I also think that the styles created by the design team are clear, legible, and suit the city's image.

While I have not had a chance to visit all the mock-up signs in Old Town, I was surprised at the size of the "vehicular wayfinding" sign on King Street between Washington and Columbus. I think at that scale, the signage is a visual distraction from its surroundings. Signs at a scale that could help guide both pedestrians and vehicles, similar to the blue signs found all over Washington DC, seem more appropriate to an in-town setting.

Veronica (161) | User | May 19, 2010 - 10:28 AM