Check Out Medford’s New Wayfinding Signs!

Check Out Medford’s New Wayfinding Signs!

Last month WalkBoston went on a “field trip” to visit the wayfinding signs we helped the City of Medford design and install this past August. Implemented with funding from a MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces grant, the signs represent an easy, low-cost measure that makes Medford more accessible and navigable to pedestrians. As Aateka Shashank writes, 

As part of the many ways in which cities can encourage travel by foot or bike, wayfinding signage allows pedestrians to make mental maps and visualize their city by connecting sidewalks and footpaths that lead them to their destinations, rather than by the automobile-oriented street signs.

Following a team lunch, all members of the WalkBoston staff plus Board Member Nina Garfinkle, who designed the signs, followed a route that began in Medford Square.
We then walked to the Footbridge over the Mystic River, crossing it and taking the River Path. This part of the walk was beautifully scenic and peaceful.

We passed the Condon Shell Bandstand with its beautiful mural depicting the Mystic River. (The Mystic River is a modified form of the Algonquin name “MissiTuk,” meaning “great tidal river” in reference to the Mystic’s tidal waters.)

We also encountered this rain garden and sidewalk bump out at the corner of Winthrop and South Street. Rain gardens help mitigate flooding and pollution from stormwater runoff by providing a permeable surface for precipitation to be absorbed and filtered. This one has the additional benefit as a piece of traffic calming infrastructure, as it shortens the crossing distance for pedestrians and forces drivers to slow down while turning the corner. This is the type of improvement you’ll soon see in the City of Boston with the new Environmental Standards for Green Infrastructure!

WalkBoston eventually reached a Medford landmark on South Street: “Grandfather’s House,” the one depicted in the famous poem “Over the River and Through the Woods” by Lydia Maria Child.

We saw lovely gardens and wildflowers along the way.
WalkBoston also took some time to visit and reflect on the Royall House and Slave Quarters Museum which preserves a 17th century mansion, slave quarters, and the remnants of a 500-acre estate that had been home to the Royall family, “the largest slaveholding family in Massachusetts, and to the more than 60 Africans they’d enslaved. It’s thought to be the only surviving freestanding slave quarters in the northern United States.” Read more about the site here.
WalkBoston ended our field trip at Medford City Hall, where we greeted the Office of Planning, Development, & Sustainability that had approached us in making the wayfinding signs a reality. If you come across the signs in Medford, be sure to scan the QR codes to learn more and submit feedback. WalkBoston was grateful for the opportunity to explore Medford on foot and experience its natural beauty, charming streets and rich history.


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