By Kareem Johnson
MANHATTAN — If you find yourself getting lost in New York, you're not alone.
A recent survey conducted by the Department of Transportation found that 10 percent of locals and 27 percent of visitors to the Big Apple find themselves lost in town.
To help people get an idea of their surroundings, the DOT announced a request for proposals on Monday to "bring a comprehensive pedestrian information system" to sidewalks in New York Neighborhoods.
The DOT is calling the initiative a critical first step to making streets easier to navigate and more accessible to residents and visitors, it said in a press release announcing the request.
"An information system that points the way to key destinations knits together neighborhoods and makes local businesses even more accessible," said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in a statement.
The effort, called "wayfinding" will be a "coordinated pedestrian information network," to help pedestrians traveling to, from, and around neighborhoods. The signs are coming to Chinatown and parts of Midtown in Manhattan, as well as Brooklyn and Queens.
The idea has gotten support from several groups, including the 34th Street Partnership, the Fashion Center Business Improvement District and the Chinatown Partnership.
"A standardized citywide pedestrian sign system would highlight our neighborhood's offerings, and increase the number of people who walk instead of take taxis from our transit terminals, such as Penn Station," said Dan Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership in a statement.
"Pedestrian signs would make our neighborhood more accessible to visitors and locals alike," said Wellington Chen, Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership. "The street grid can be confusing, even to people who live here."
The request for proposal are open until July 27. The Wall Street Journal's Metropolis blog reported that the city is expected to spend about $9.5 million on the project, and the first phase will cost about $1.5 million.
Federal funds will cover 80 percent of the cost, and business districts are expected to pitch in, the Journal reported.