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Worcester Secures $3 Million to Improve City’s Navigation

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


The city of Worcester has secured $3 million in funding for their Worcester Wayfinding Initiative, a program which will help to develop a system of vehicular, pedestrian, and place-making signage that capture many of Worcester’s unique offerings and identity.

Of the $3 million devoted to the project, $2 million of it comes from the Department of Transportation, with the other $1 million coming from the city itself. The project will install over 175 wayfinding installations and 24 public art components to create a grid-like system in the city to make navigation through Worcester’s diverse neighborhoods.

"The creation of this new wayfinding system is essential for growth, particularly in the area of cultural tourism and economic development," said City Manager Edward Augustus. "With the breadth and caliber of cultural organizations within the city, and the related hundreds of creative events and activities presented to the public, this system will greatly enhance the experience of visiting Worcester for the over 2.7 million visitors we draw annually."

The project will also significantly de-sign existing, outdated, and over-abundant signs throughout the city. The project is expected to take two years to complete.

First of Its Kind

Originally initiated in 2006, the project is set to be the first of its kind within the state of Massachusetts, according to city officials.

The city cites partnerships with the Department of Transportation and State Senator Harriette Chandler – who was “instrumental” in securing the funding for the initiative – as one way to see local and state partnerships benefit the community. If the program is successful in Worcester, it could be implemented in other cities in the future.

“MassDOT is pleased to partner with the City of Worcester to move the Worcester Wayfinding Initiative forward,” said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey. “The Wayfinding Initiative promotes easier navigation through the neighborhoods of Worcester. Investing in the second largest city in New England is vital for economic growth, and the Worcester Wayfinding Initiative is a great way to both welcome visitors and also promote the rich culture of Worcester.”

Using Art and Local Resources

Public art has been deemed an integral part of this new initiative, using local artists like Susan Champeny to add a unique sense of art and culture to the wayfinding project.

Prototypes for the initiative included three elements: a district identifier, a vehicle directional, and a pedestrian kiosk. They were designed by Selbert Perkins Deisgn of Boston and Los Angeles, and constructed by Design Communications LTD of Boston.

"Through creative thinking and problem solving, Worcester will establish an identity that highlights its history of innovation and the diversity of its residents as it thrives as a prosperous creative city," said Cultural Development Officer Erin I. Williams. "The wayfinding project emerged from this creative spirit, bringing together different communities to work toward promoting economic development and quality of life in our great city."


Related Slideshow: The Central MA Cities with the Most Expensive Car Insurance

A new ranking for how expensive -- or cheap -- auto insurance is in the Commonwealth has been released by consumer website ValuePenguin for the state's nearly 5 million drivers. ValuePenguin reviewed auto insurance rates in MA for 7 different driver profiles from 35 insurers in the 179 cities with a population over 10,000. The blended cost for each was yielded from the following methodolody:

Included in the study were sample annual premiums from 35 companies, from ACE to Vermont Mutual. Seven kinds of driver situations were represented, including single adults of various years of driving experience, three married couples, and a married couple with a teenaged driver. Rates were pulled for policies covering the minimum liability limits per Massachusetts law up to 100/300/100 for married couples.

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23. Northborough

Average Cost: $1043

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22. Uxbridge

Average Cost: $1053

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21. Hopkinton

Average Cost: $1062

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20. Lunenberg

Average Cost: $1098

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19. Westborough

Average Cost: $1156

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18. Hudson

Average Cost: $1184

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17. Gardner

Average Cost: $1196

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16. Holden

Average Cost: $1196

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15. Winchendon

Average Cost: $1197

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14. Northbridge

Average Cost: $1203

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13. Grafton

Average Cost: $1216

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12. Charlton

Average Cost: $1247

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11. Millbury

Average Cost: $1270

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10. Leominster

Average Cost: $1285

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9. Milford

Average Cost: $1286

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8. Shrewsbury

Average Cost: $1301

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7. Auburn

Average Cost: $1340

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6. Clinton

Average Cost: $1340

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5. Southbridge

Average Cost: $1351

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4. Spencer

Average Cost: $1353

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3. Leicester

Average Cost: $1386

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2. Webster

Average Cost: $1394

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1. Worcester

Average Cost: $1764


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