Motorists and pedestrians may have an easier time finding their way around the city with wayfinding sign installations around City Springs and borders areas. Installation is expected to begin in the next six to eight months.

Communications Director Sharon Kraun presented a plan to the City Council on March 2 to install directional and informational signs around the city. Signs helping motorists and pedestrians with directions, kiosk information signs and gateway signs at the “entrances” to the city are planned.

An illustration of one of the gateway signs planned for installation at the city limits.

“Our phase one would be getting all the gateway signs up and working on the City Springs downtown area, all the directional signage,” Deputy City Manager David Wells said. “And then phase two, we’d move into the vehicular and the parking directional signs. And then phase three, we would work on the pedestrian directional and the kiosk signs.”

The city’s goal is to install gateway signs in existing right-of-ways. The need for additional land purchases has not been determined, said Dan Coffer, the city’s community relations manager.

Gateway sign locations will include: Roswell Road at the Chattahoochee River; Ga. 400 at Roberts Drive; Johnson Ferry Road at the river; I-285 at the river; Roswell Road north of West Wieuca Road; Ga. 400 near the Glenridge Connector; I-285 near Perimeter Center Parkway; Spalding Drive at Dunwoody Road; Johnson Ferry Road near Old Johnson Ferry Road; and at the North Springs and Sandy Springs MARTA Stations. 

A contractor would be selected by May 2021, he said. The projected budget is $1.3 million. Signs will be made of a mix of materials, Coffer said.l. Directional and parking signs would be mounted on metal poles. Gateway signs would be mounted on stacked stone bases. Pedestrian kiosks will be digital.

City staff including police, fire, recreation and economic development departments helped choose locations in 2017, Kraun said. 

A consultant, MERJE of West Chester, Pennsylvania, was hired.

“Wayfinding is intended to make locating places easy, and we spent a considerable amount of time identifying the appropriate locations and the types of designs and the messages that were going to be needed,” Kraun said.

She said the wayfinding signs will promote branding of the city in addition to helping people on foot and in cars find their way around the city.

The city’s branding and wayfinding designs made their way into three bridge replacements over Ga. 400. The council previously approved spending $5.9 million on bridges at Pitts Road, Roberts Drive and Spalding Drive that will be replaced by the Georgia Department of Transportation as part of its Ga. 400 toll lanes project. The city approved spending the money on the bridges to enhance them for pedestrian and bicycle use, with aesthetic enhancements including a stacked stone look and the city’s logo. Construction on the lanes is expected to begin in 2022 and finish in 2026.

“For the bridges, we opted to use an all-stone version of the wayfinding. It blended well with the stone that was used for the bridge itself. There was also a cost element and maintenance element that was incorporated into there,” Kraun said.

Wells said the city has most of the property necessary for the gateways. The city didn’t identify which property it owned or needed.

Councilmember Andy Bauman asked about branding around the Medical Center area on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, home to Northside Hospital, Emory St. Joseph’s, the MARTA Medical Center Station and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite Hospital. The area is known as “Pill Hill” in local slang.

“Just maybe at some point, we can add or add some brandings those hospitals themselves hopefully would contribute,” Bauman said. “It would be nice at some point to brand that area and to move past the ‘Pill Hill’ moniker,” Bauman said.

Kraun said hospitals and the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce was part of the stakeholder group the city consulted. The consensus was to get the direction signage needed in the city first.

“But as far as our future branding effort, if there’s something that we want to do with the medical district, we can look at that as a standalone project and then incorporate additional kinds of branding,” she said.

Wayfinding and gateway signs have become popular in local cities in recent years. Brookhaven has been installing similar gateway signs since 2018. Dunwoody is in the midst of considering a signage plan.