City installs pedestrian maps to help New Yorkers get around
Who needs a compass when you’ve got an eight-foot map to tell you where to go in the city?
By August, there will be 100 outdoor map kiosks throughout the city, four of which are already up in Chinatown, the city transportation department announced Monday.
The eight-and-a-half foot WalkNYC stations include a large map of the streets near the kiosk as well as information about the approximate time it would take to walk to the nearest subway stations and other places of interest. But the maps aren’t touchscreen.
Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said the city’s dense geography confuses a lot of people, so the agency came up with the idea in order to send pedestrians in the right direction.
“Whether you’re a life long New Yorker or a traveler, we know that feeling when you don’t know where you’re going once you get out of the subway,” she said at the Mulberry and Worth streets kiosk.
The 100 kiosks are the first wave in a program the city hopes to expand across the boroughs.
There are two maps on each side of the kiosk, one that shows the streets within a 20-minute walk and another that shows a larger area of the neighborhood.
Sadik-Khan said the kiosks will be in geographical sync with the streets located nearby.
“You no longer have to guess where north, south, east or west is,” she said.
The kiosks came as a result of hundreds of studies by the DOT, including one that found that 33% of New Yorkers couldn’t figure out where north was.
Visitors who passed by one of the Chinatown stations said the kiosks made their trips more efficient.
“I like the clarity of it, and the time estimations,” said Deanna Smithey, 50, a tourist from Kentucky. “I hope it doesn’t really take that long to get to Battery Park.”
Sadik-Khan said the DOT will make the WalkNYC data available for developers to create apps. The department is in talks with the MTA to place the maps in subway stations and near Select Bus Service stops, she said.
The $6 million program, which is paid for mostly by federal money, will spread the kiosks across lower Manhattan, the Garment District, Prospect Heights and Long Island City, locations that the commissioner said have the heaviest foot traffic, throughout the summer.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of Long Island City said the maps would help encourage more visitors to check out Queens.
“If they see they can walk it [to their destination], they can pass shops and coffee houses along the way,” he said.
Here are the city neighborhoods that will have the WalkNYC kiosk maps in the program’s first phase.
Long Island City
The Lost City
The city’s Department of Transportation said it created WalkNYC map kiosks after it found out through a survey that New Yorkers aren’t the most geographically aware. Here are the results of 500 surveys the agency took of New Yorkers and visitors.
of New Yorkers were not familiar with the area that they were when they took the survey.
of residents and 27%of visitors were unable to name the borough or neighborhoodthey were in when they took the survey.
of New Yorkers couldn’t indicate which direction north was.
of those surveyed said they were lost in the last week.