bike path signage in arboretum made by design students
First stage of signage on city bike path

Design Department and City Join Hands to Point the Way

Finding one's way around the city of Davis is getting easier thanks to a joint effort by the Department of Design and the city. What started as an environmental design class project has turned into an easy-to-understand sign system for the city’s bicycle pathways.

“We were looking for a project and the bike paths seemed like a fun project,” said Tim McNeil, the design professor heading the project done primarily by undergraduates. “Once we did it, we invited the city to review what we’d done, and they were very interested. It all came about by chance.”

The first signs were installed in the spring at the east end of the UC Davis Arboretum. The paths in West Davis will have signs by year’s end.

“I knew we had to find a way to collaborate on this,” said Jennifer Donofrio, City of Davis Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator. “What I love is that it is so hands-on. It is great to have these students as a resource, and it’s cool for them to be able to say ‘I created this.’”

The signs are dark maroon with white reverse text except for on campus where they will be UC Davis blue. They provide distance and travel time between various locations and offer travel etiquette tips, such as asking that bikers announce their presence to pedestrians by voice, bell or horn. A digital component is being developed that will use QR codes to access information about the culture and history of places such as Putah Creek.

“I think the students learned a lot from this,” McNeil said. “As a teaching experience, it was great.”

— Jeffrey Day, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science

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