Brookfield’s Community and Economic Development Department has just started exploring adding wayfinding signage to key areas in the village, another small step in a campaign to rebrand the village and respond to needs of the business community.
Exactly where such signage would go and what it would look like are questions that still must be answered, but it’s an idea that stretches all the way back to the Brookfield 2020 Master Plan, which was implemented by the village board back in 2004.
The signage would be geared toward pedestrians and bicyclists. At a meeting of the village board’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee on Feb. 8, a preliminary map showed that such signs might be placed in the Grand/Prairie downtown area, Eight Corners, the Hollywood Metra stop and Brookfield Zoo.
The signs could point pedestrians and bicyclists to business districts and other locations in the village.
“Those are very preliminary suggestions,” said Village Planner Emily Egan. “We’d want to do a study to find the best locations.”
Egan said village officials plan on surveying residents, local business owners, board members and village staff for input. They’ll also look at neighboring towns to see how wayfaring signage works elsewhere.
“It’s directional signage, but it’s also being responsive to local businesses in that it can support economic development,” Egan said. “They don’t point to a specific destination, but they can provide context. Maybe people aren’t aware of a local business district or a route to get there. They might say, ‘Oh, a five minute walk and I can get to shopping.'”
While a wayfaring signage plan might be rolled into the comprehensive planning process the village hopes to begin later this year with the help of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), officials felt there was no need to wait for that effort to get started.
“There’s an absence of wayfaring signs altogether for pedestrians and cyclists navigating through locations in town,” said Nicholas Greifer, the village’s director of community and economic development. “People who get off at the train stations might benefit from signs.
“The signs would be simple and practical. Right now there’s an absolute absence of visual cues.”
It’ll take some months to complete a study that will then be reviewed by the Planning Zoning and Economic Development Committee and then the full village board.
“We’re not sure how long it will take,” Egan said. “Hopefully, we’ll have something before the end of the year.”
Another goal is to create signage that’s consistent throughout the village in terms of looks and branding.
“Another benefit is to improve the design and appearance overall,” Egan said.