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Trail Wayfinding Within and Beyond the Standards

Wayfinding systems are essential tools of complete and effective regional trails and trail networks.

by Karen Vitkay, Alta Planning + Design, Alex Oreschak, Transportation Planner, Maricopa Association of Governments

Presenters: Karen Vitkay, Associate Landscape Architect, Alta Planning + Design; Alex Oreschak, Transportation Planner II, Maricopa Association of Governments, Arizona

Wayfinding systems are essential tools of complete and effective regional trails and trail networks. Wayfinding information clarifies routes and helps users comfortably reach their destinations. Guide signage for shared use paths requires that federal standards within the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) are adhered to. Numerous municipalities are however pushing the boundaries of the technical requirements in order to achieve effective wayfinding systems that include local community character.

About the Authors

Karen Vitkay is a Registered Landscape Architect with Alta Planning + Design in their Portland, Oregon office. She has focused on bicycle, pedestrian, and trail planning and design for the last ten years and currently leads Alta’s national wayfinding practice. Karen balances design creativity with an understanding of federal guidelines and standards, to achieve designs that are implementable as well as community supported. Her experience spans a wide range of project scales and scopes, from master planning a national bicycle plan for the country of Qatar to developing construction details for a 500-foot-long section of multi-use pathway along a creek in her backyard.

Karen says, “I trust we have the ability to live more gently on the land, and I aspire to design the paths to do so. As a landscape designer, I seek to positively affect both our natural and built environments. I strive to create works which: benefit a wide range of people, are context sensitive, and positively affect public health, social interactions and our quality of life.”

Alex Oreschak is a transportation planner for Maricopa Association of Governments, with a focus on non-motorized transportation projects. He leads MAG’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, including the regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, the bike count program, the regional bikeways map, and the regional off-street network wayfinding system project. He works with representatives from over twenty-five agencies on planning projects, bikeway designs, and federal funding of bicycle and pedestrian projects.

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