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National Mall Wayfinding and New Pedestrian Guides

National Mall and Memorial Parks » National Mall Wayfinding and New Pedestrian Guides » Document List

The National Mall and Memorial Parks attract visitors from all over the world who come to experience historic monuments, visit museums, and celebrate our nation's history. Visitors to the Mall depend upon signage and graphics to facilitate their visits. Posted information about what to do and where things are located is critical to park guests. Both drivers and walkers need well-designed signs with good maps, clear directions, and consistent wording that work together to communicate effectively. Such signage will help establish a more positive image and identity of the National Mall.

Unfortunately, existing signage in and around the Mall is not effective. Years of adding mismatched signs and lack of maintenance has resulted in a shabby and jumbled sign environment which is not up to the high standards set by the monuments and museums themselves. Visitors often identify the confusing and sometimes non-existent signage on the Mall as a major source of frustration. A substantial upgrade of the signage and additional wayfinding is sorely needed. Adequate pedestrian wayfinding is a deferred maintenance need. This project will design, fabricate and install pedestrian wayfinding and regulatory signage on the National Mall and East Potomac Park to address this critical need.

The request for improvements in signs, maps, and directional information had been clearly expressed in the first public meetings and in the public scoping comments associated with the National Mall planning process. As a result, improvements to pedestrian wayfinding and signage have been included in all of the proposed alternatives of the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the National Mall Plan. This project does not change any of the proposed alternatives of the National Mall Plan.

In accordance with NPS management policies and the NPS servicewide sign program guidelines, the National Mall and Memorial Parks Pedestrian Wayfinding and Signage Project follows the NPS UniGuide Sign Standards. The goals of this program, as stated in the NPS Directors Orders 52C (2003) and the companion Sign Standards Reference Manual, establish and implement standards for the planning, design, fabrication, installation, inventory, and maintenance of outdoor signs for all national parks. Standard sign types will be used for site identification, facility identification, regulatory signage, and orientation.

In addition, two new pedestrian guide sign types have been developed which are based upon UniGuide Standard RR001, a Rules and Regulations "pylon" designed to efficiently and discretely utilize symbols to communicate prohibited activities (e.g. "no swimming," "do not feed wildlife"). Similarly, the new pedestrian guides (PG001 and PG002) utilize a combination of symbols and text to communicate directional information more universally and efficiently. They have been adapted, however, to suit the architectural character, scale, and unique landscape of the National Mall. Both are rectangular, brown "pylons" constructed of aluminum. PG002 measures approximately 8 inches wide by 5 feet tall. PG001 measures approximately 1 foot 3 inches wide by a total of 10 feet tall and is set on a 3 feet 5.5 inches granite base.

Implementation of the Pedestrian Wayfinding and Signage project is planned for three phases. The first phase will be done around the Lincoln Memorial and along portions of Constitution and Independence Avenues. The second phase incorporates East and West Potomac Parks, as well as the Washington Monument Grounds. The third and final phase will include the Mall and Union Square. Representative sign location plans, including the standardized sign types, have been included in the attached Wayfinding Project Context and Overview. This document provides an overview of the wayfinding project and allows the reader to understand the new pedestrian guide signs within the context of the comprehensive project.

Contact Information

Chief, Resource Management
National Mall and Memorial Parks
900 Ohio Dr., SW
Washington DC, 20024