Campus Master Plan: New signage to curb confusion


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Editor's note: This story has been revised to correct factual errors involving the campus master plan.

Central Michigan University officials are planning to make campus easier to navigate with the introduction of new campus signage.

Design proposals for the signage were presented during four open forums discussing changes to the campus master plan.

Global contractor AECOM helped CMU officials create the master plan. Jonathan Mugmon, AECOM’S way finding director, said the proposed signage upgrades are crucial to the beautification of CMU.

"(We’re making) plans for where walking and bicycle paths will go so people can feel comfortable walking in this environment," Mugmon said. "They’ll know that it’s safe, that it’s a nice environment. This whole project will encourage walkability when it’s finished."

The campus identity project will cost $310,000, including five weeks of charrettes, work done by AECOM throughout the process and deliverables sent after the final March charrette.

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The directional sign posts will be more detailed, increasingly simplified and easier for pedestrians to read, he said. Proposals regarding pedestrian traffic are a main focus of the plan, placing directional signs along popular walking spots on campus and near popular local destinations.

Designs for the signage will include three distinct graphic elements. The first will detail the specific area where the sign is located, including street names, surrounding landmarks and paths to those locations. The second element proposed is the creation of 3-D rendered maps of that particular area of campus. Lastly, a map of the entire campus area will be incorporated in the final designs.

Pedestrian signage will also include walking times to various nearby locations, with arrows designating direction.

"When students see these, they'll go ‘maybe I don't have to use my car. It’s only a five-minute walk,’" Mugmon said.

Street signs on campus will also receive a major revamp. At present, campus street signage is located in the middle, toward the left, or on the back of campus stop signs.

The new renovations will place every street sign on the right side of the road where drivers can easily see them. The signs will also be simplified so they are easier to read.

Proposed changes to parking signage will also be simplified to streamline the campus parking system. There are 14 different color and letter classifications for the myriad parking lots on campus.

The new system will help simplify who can park in any lot by reducing the classifications to five colors and letters, labeling parking lots for visitors, faculty, staff, meter users and residential parkers.

Mugmon said the current classification system is not only confusing, but for those with disabilities, it is potentially impossible to comprehend.

Designs for the way finding signage have not been finalized. Sherry Knight, associate vice president of communications at CMU, said discussion of weaving the project into the 10-year capital plan will begin in March and will be funded by private donations.

Students react to signage

Even without seeing the designs, some student on campus are enthusiastic about the new signs.

Nicholas Fisher, a Goodrich sophomore, began attending CMU this semester and said having maps located around campus would be helpful for him.

"It would help me get around campus," he said. "The only things I know of on campus are the Anspach building, Park Library and the Grawn building."

William Joseph drives everyday from his downtown apartment to the library, where he works. He's parked in lots around campus that he didn't know he couldn't, and paid the price for it.He said he's paid $25 per ticket for doing so.

The simplification of the parking lot codes from 14 colors to five would help students and make parking less confusing.

"I've parked in the wrong area and didn't know it," Joseph said. "I think making it simpler would make it a big plus"


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