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Wayfinding system to make Grand Rapids’ Skywalk, Riverwalk user friendly

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

Losing your way in Grand Rapids’ elevated Skywalk will soon be a thing of the past. A new wayfinding system created by Traverse City-based Corbin Design—the company that created downtown’s street level wayfinding system—will help pedestrians find their way into, out of and through the Skywalk, no matter where they enter along its route.

The same wayfinding concept will eventually grace the Riverwalk that lines both sides of the Grand River downtown and crosses it via the Sixth Street Bridge, the Gillett Bridge and the Blue Bridge.

“We’ve gotten good feedback on the street level wayfinding system we installed several years ago,” says Jay Fowler, executive director, Downtown Development Authority. “Many people don’t know the Riverwalk exists, so we not only want to make it more usable for visitors, we want to increase its visibility in the community so residents can enjoy it.”

Fowler says the first priority is the Skywalk. At Corbin’s recommendation, temporary signage is in place so people can use it, give feedback, and allow the city to make changes before creating permanent signage.

“We’ve identified all the entry points with a brand that identifies it as The Skywalk,” says Robert Brengman, a senior designer for Corbin Design. “It tells you what it connects you to, where you are, how far you have to go to your destination. At every decision point there will be guide signs that tell what’s in each direction.”

The Skywalk will also have directories of nearby businesses at every entry point, smaller strip maps that identify all destinations within that particular section, and mileage markers every one-eighth mile so people who use it for exercise can track their progress.

Source: Jay Fowler, City of Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority; Robert Brengman, Corbin Design

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

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