88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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How “guerilla wayfinding” would help Milwaukee

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Guerilla: self-initiated and spontaneous; Wayfinding: finding your way from place to place

A project introduced through a Kickstarter in Raleigh, North Carolina, makes the daunting decision to walk seem a little more achievable.

Walk [Your City] allows residents to create, print and spontaneously post signs along the streets in hopes that it will encourage walking. The signs determine how much time it will take to walk somewhere, which is perfect for the convenience-leaning, time-crunched lives we live today.  

Though the project started in Raleigh, founder, Matt Tomasulo has made it possible for people everywhere to use the open sourced web-site.

Walk [Your City], meet Milwaukee.

“Walking is not scary, but in some cities and places it might seem that way,” Tomasulo said. “Public perception is one of the biggest obstacles to walking.”

This project could be a perfect match for our city. Walking here can seem undesirable at times, but in reality it’s not. Milwaukee offers roomy sidewalks and beautiful views that are reason enough to walk. Plus one of the greatest assets of our metropolis is its modest size. A 15-minute ride from the East Side, and you’re in Bayview. For the most part, travels can happen without a web of cluttered highways. These features are nice for drivers, but a blessing for pedestrians.

In addition, Walk [Your City] is about more than walking. It’s about discovering. When we avoid traveling by foot we miss out on all the gems hidden in secret pockets of the city.

This simple signage could spark new, sprawling pedi-tourism -- nomads, wandering the city by sign and by foot. Of course, a surge of new pedestrians would bring more foot traffic to local businesses. And, as the residents of Milwaukee travel the streets more frequently, they might begin to observe the features that make walking through this city great, along with changes needed to improve our daily strolls.

Some might be thinking that they already have this service at their fingertips. While we all love map apps, these signs would momentarily relieve us of our cell phone devotion and allow us to look around, see the sights.

So what do you think: could Milwaukee benefit from this program? Would you walk more if you knew how long it would take to get to your destination?