If you have been in downtown New Providence lately, you’ve probably noticed the colorful new signs posted to encourage people to walk to various destinations in the borough. The perception of distance is often greater than the physical distance itself. Clear, simple signage reminding our neighbors that “it’s not too far” to places they visit every day is one way to break down that misconception and get more feet on the street. Getting in your car can actually be more time consuming.
The directional signs are color coded to highlight various categories: purple for commercial destinations, green for public spaces, blue for civic or institutional destinations, yellow for recreational facilities, and pink for transit. Each sign also has a QR code that can be scanned with a smart phone to show the exact route map to the sign’s destination.
This short-term, low cost walking sign campaign has several benefits for our community:
- Acts as a behavioral nudge for people to make healthier transportation choices
- Reduces our carbon footprint by cutting down on the number of cars on our roads
- Supports our local businesses and commercial districts because people see more of our local tenants when they walk. If there are more people on the street, there are more people in our businesses
- Helps highlight different areas of town, such as the Shoppes at New Providence on Central Avenue or our businesses located at Union and Springfield Avenues
- Boosts social connections and “eyes on the street.” The casual encounters people have when walking through town help build community cohesiveness.
- Serves as a test pilot for a larger, more permanent wayfinding signage campaign
The next time you have an errand to run, challenge yourself to walk instead of drive. It’s probably closer than you think, you’ll be getting in your daily exercise, and you’ll be setting a great example for others. You can do it!