New signs colourful guide to city

By Matthew Martin

The first of 17 new interactive signs promoting Rotorua as a "Walkable City" have gone up.

Construction of the new signs began on Wednesday with four being installed along Tutanekai St.

Rotorua District Council economic projects manager Nick Dallimore said the completed signs would be lit up at night by LEDs.

The 2.4m tall, 70cm wide signs promote the city in several languages, have city maps, some historical information and QR codes so smartphone users can scan them for more information and a link to the council's website.

"The Walkable City project will see 17 signs installed at intersections between Kuirau Park, the Government Gardens, the Rotorua Lakefront and Rotorua Central," Mr Dallimore said.

"The signs will tell the story of Rotorua through words and pictures.

On a practical level, they will also contain colour-coded maps so visitors know where they are and what's within walking distance - a deliberate plan to encourage foot traffic."

He said the rest of the signs should be up by the end of the month and would also show coloured zones to give people an idea of where to dine or shop.

"It's cultural mapping and wayfinding. We're influencing traffic, telling them where things are and how to get around.

"It [the CBD] is not that big that you can't walk it, however, people get lost and don't understand where they are in relation to those spaces," Mr Dallimore said.

There will also be prominent signs outside the visitor information centre on Fenton St.

"Nearly a million visitors come through the centre a year so it's a strong point to influence where people go."

The project ties in with council plans to install public WiFi in the central city.

Mr Dallimore said the technology's potential was limitless.

"We could say 'three minutes to your right there is a coffee shop' or when there's a major event on create a banner on the page saying 'welcome to this conference' or 'good luck in the marathon'."

Mr Dallimore hopes the signs will help to create a true "experience" for visitors, while also proving of interest to locals.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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