Penn Central Wayfinding

Posted by Lance Wyman

While designing the wayfinding signs for Penn Station in New York, I remember having to create signs that informed taxi and other car service drivers that there is only one entrance that is accessible to a person in a wheelchair.

For example – if driving up 8th Avenue (a one-way street going uptown), there is a Penn Station entrance on West 31st Street, but it is not accessible to someone in a wheelchair, and 31st Street is one way so you can’t turn right to
get to the accessible entrance. You have to drive all the way up to 36th Street, turn right to 7th Avenue (a one way street going downtown), drive back to 31st Street and turn right, then drive half a block to the entrance.

This is too much information to write on a sign, and too much to remember. We solved the problem with a sequence of “Penn Station” map signs showing large street names and city blocks. The drivers’ car (yellow New York taxi) and a continuous red arrow indicate the remaining distance to the accessible entrance, identified with a “handicap” icon.

Starting with the center photo, then to the left, then top, right and bottom, you can follow a sequence to the accessible entrance. The maps are orientated to the direction the driver is traveling as he comes to a sign.

Sign Sequence

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