OHIO & ERIE CANALWAY SIGNAGE PLAN
the sign below to view the sign products...
Byway Route Markers introduce new identity along Canalway Byway
are being installed to mark the route of the Ohio & Erie Canalway
America's Byway. Their distinctive style represents a new chapter in
the development of the Ohio & Erie Canalway, which shares two complimentary
national designations: A National Heritage Area recognized through an
Act of Congress in 1996 and a designated National Scenic Byway as awarded
by the Federal Highway Administration in 2000.
The signs introduce a new name and wordmark that will serve both designations
and integrate a new branding campaign for the National Scenic Byway
program that has renamed the byways - America's Byways.
Signage will play a paramount role in establishing the identity of the
Ohio & Erie Canalway - a mutual identity shared by the National
Heritage Area and the America's Byway. It will serve visitors by providing
a seamless system of directions, information and interpretation.
Canalway Signage will lead travelers from adjoining freeways to the
designated America's Byway; signage will mark the America's Byway from
Cleveland to Dover/New Philadelphia; Vehicular Wayfinding Signs will
point the way to affiliated destinations - natural areas, historic districts,
museums, and parks; and upon exiting their cars, visitors will find
Canalway Kiosks with local information and site interpretation.
The interrelationship between the America's Byway and the National Heritage
Area is best expressed in terms of its functionality: the America's
Byway serves the National Heritage Area by providing auto travelers
a "route of existing roads" that deliver visitors to the affiliated
sites that celebrate the collection of natural, cultural, historic,
scenic and recreational assets within the boundaries of the Ohio &
In 2002, the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association (OECA) invested $340,000
to develop a Canalway Communications Plan, which introduced a new and
shared identity package for the National Heritage Area and the America's
Byway. The shared marketing name would be "Ohio & Erie Canalway;"
it included a presentation of the name as a wordmark. The Communications
Plan outlined a Canalway Signage Plan and recommended a family of sign
products that would serve both the Heritage Area and the America's Byway.
In 2005, the OECA invested an additional $175,000 for the Canalway Signage
Plan to convert the concept into design/build drawings for a subset
of the sign products. Included were (1) Byway Route Markers, (2) Vehicular
Wayfinding Signage, (3) Confidence Marker, (4) Informational Kiosk,
and (5) Trail Signage. The Canalway Signage Plan followed a prescribed
path from concept through alternative analysis to final design. The
process involved a steering committee with representatives of the four
county engineers, regional park districts, major cities, attractions,
and small townships. Beyond the steering committee, all 58 local jurisdictions
and 80 affiliated attractions were engaged throughout the planning exercise
as was the general public.
The Canalway Signage Plan provides a seamless experience for visitors
by providing directions from the parallel freeways onto the America's
Byway. The byway is then appropriately signed with Route Markers that
provide the necessary visual directional signage to follow the America's
Byway from Cleveland to Dover/ New Philadelphia. Along the byway, a
Vehicular Wayfinding Signage System will provide information of attractions
and destinations prior to the final decision point (e.g. - turn left
here) so that drivers can navigate the Canalway with an assurance that
they will find their destination. Once the driver turns into the entryway
of a destination, they will encounter a Confidence Marker which sports
a "tag line" that is associated with its prime visitor experience
-categorized by the compelling resource it offers (e. g. - at an historical
museum - "Discover American History"). After parking, visitors
will encounter a two-sided Canalway Kiosk, which provides on one side
the overarching storyline and information on the 110-mile Ohio &
Erie Canalway, while the second side provides a site specific story
that affiliates it with the Canalway and includes the local interpretive
storyline. In the future, at sites with connection to the Towpath Trail
or a connector trail, visitors will find a Trail Wayfinding/Directional
system that guides them to destinations along the trail system.
The final sign designs featuring the distinctive Ohio & Erie Canalway
wordmark were met with overwhelming approval and commitments to implement.
Given the extent of the signage and the associated cost, it was determined
that implementation would be phased. Ohio Canal Corridor submitted two
Scenic Byway Grants on behalf of the Cuyahoga County Engineer's Office
to begin implementation and was awarded both grants totaling $756,000
The Byway Route Markers will lead the implementation process, followed
by a Vehicular Wayfinding Beta Test along a 20-mile portion of the America's
Byway within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the first wave of
Informational Canalway Kiosks at Canalway destinations. Additional Vehicular
Wayfinding Signage and Kiosks will follow in subsequent phases.
Some of the America's Byway route is already used as a primary route
to a number of identified attractions and therefore contain those attraction-based
signs. Part of the Vehicular Wayfinding formula is to replace any current
directional signage to these attractions with the Canalway Vehicular
Wayfinding signage, avoiding duplication.
Scenic Byway Management Plan recognized the role of Canalway-related
signage as instrumental in the establishment of a regional identity.
It also considered the impact of other signage on the visitor experience
and produced solid recommendations which remain pertinent to the future
of the Ohio & Erie Canalway.
non-profits, Ohio Canal Corridor and the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition,
encourage communities to adopt guidelines so that individual signs and
the coordination of signs are designed to convey a quality message and
to enhance the visual appearance of a community. Communities should
avoid signs that are haphazard and ill placed, which assault residents
and visitors with chaotic and confusing messages that are difficult
to comprehend. With a coordinated sign program, signs will not obstruct
scenic views and evoke the wrong message but promote a community's historic,
recreational and other tourism-related intrinsic resources.
Recognizing the identity of the Ohio & Erie Canalway, a coordinated
sign program for the America's Byway will strengthen local character
through the establishment of local ordinances, regulations and design
guidelines to complement all byway communities generating a regional
identity that reflects its history and culture as well as enhancing
the visitor's experience.