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Follow These Simple Directions: Wayfinding Signs for City Will Get Further Review

The city hopes to help motorists - residents and visitors alike - find their way to parks, schools and other resources, without making the signage itself too confusing.

In one way, it's nice to know Muskego has so many places people would want to go: parks, schools and city services to name a few. However, when driving past a sign pointing to each at 35 to 45 miles per hour, it may get just as frustrating as not having any directions at all.

That is the happy medium the Common Council was hoping to reach as it reviewed the proposed signage plan, which will literally point motorists in the right direction.

"The feedback we got during the Lake Park debate was that people, even many residents, can't find our parks, so we're hoping to make it easier to get to these places," said Jeff Muenkel, city planner during the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night.

However, there was concern about having too much information on signs for people to comprehend as they drive by.

Some signs feature as many as 12 different destinations with corresponding arrows. The size of the type was estimated at about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in height, which Muenkel said could be legible at 70 feet, but others were skeptical.

"Unless you're sitting at a traffic light, I don't know that the average person is going to be able to read all of that information and find what they're looking for in time," said Alderman Neil Borgman.

"I think we could eliminate items that are straight ahead, as people are already headed in that direction," Alderman Dan Soltysiak said. "With GPS, most people know how to get to Muskego, it's just that 'last mile' so if we provide the right and left directions, that should be enough. That way we are also manipulating traffic flow to direct people through the city."

The signs would be mounted on poles and be incorporated into the streetscaping designs for Janesville Road. Multiple listings would be featured along main routes, with smaller individual signs posted on single poles as you approached the destinations.

Muenkel stressed that the $12,000 cost was far below what other cities have paid for similar signage, and would include 22 large and 16 smaller signs. The aluminum signs would feature lamination of the lettering, which means changes could be made by peeling off and reapplying rather that replacing the entire sign.

Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti agreed that the price tag was low, stating that she had heard unconfirmed costs from neighboring Franklin to be around $75,000, which included the designs and the actual signs. Muskego has done much of the design work in house, and Skip Deback with Lemberg Signs, which is creating them for the city, said as a resident of the city himself and a taxpayer, he had an interest in keeping the costs to the city low as well.

The Committee of the Whole requested that a couple of the options they found most attractive be printed out to determine readability before they make a final decision.

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