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In 2009, the city selected MERJE Design, a Philadelphia-based firm with extensive experience in wayfinding and branding work, from among more than 20 companies that submitted proposals to lead the public process for input, create a design, establish sign locations and create a manual for maintenance of the signs and system. Throughout this contract the City and MERJE have worked with various stakeholder groups, including representatives from Market Square and the Old City, the downtown theaters, historic preservation groups, the Arts & Cultural Alliance and various city departments, along with others. Public participation has been an essential component of this project.

Recognizing the challenges of funding the implementation of this project over multiple budget cycles, in September of 2010, the city submitted a request to the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) to include the Downtown Wayfinding program in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and to make it eligible for Federal Highway (FHWA) funding. The city received approval for a grant in the amount of $1.2 million to implement the Downtown Wayfinding program as a Local Government Guidelines project, meaning 80% of the contract would be funded by FHWA through the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and 20% of the project would be funded locally by the city of Knoxville. Additionally, this funding source has requirements that include environmental permitting, right of way certification and construction review and administration.

In June of 2012, the city received a Notice to Proceed (NTP) from TDOT for the Downtown Wayfinding project. A call for letters of interest for qualified firms was issued by the city in the same month. The city held a kickoff meeting for this phase of the project on December 4, 2012 at the Emporium Center for the Arts. Click here to view the meeting presentation in PDF format.

Links to files from the Wayfinding Project are available below:

Theme Boards [PDF]

Steering Committee Info [PDF]

Inventory of Existing Downtown Signage

Pedestrian Wayfinding Report - ETCDC [PDF] - This PDF file is 14MB in size. For best performance, download the PDF document to your computer before viewing - right click on link and select "Save Target As".

Request for Proposals - Downtown Wayfinding Signage Project [PDF]
  • Addendum 1 [PDF]
  • Addendum 2 [PDF]
  • Addendum 3 [PDF]
  • Addendum 4 [PDF]
    March 9, 2009 Press Release [PDF]

    May 7, 2009 Wayfinding Design & Analysis Presentation [PDF] - 17MB

    June 30, 2009 Revised Wayfinding Design & Analysis Presentation [PDF] - 14MB

    Sept. 11, 2009 Wayfinding Analysis [PDF] - 11MB

    Oct. 15, 2009 Design Development [PDF] - 7MB

    May 17, 2010 Design Development Package [PDF] - 5 MB

    October 2010 Program and Message Schedule [PDF] - 14 MB

    Oct. 29, 2012 Construction Documentation [PDF] - 11 MB

    Nov. 28, 2012 Press Release - Public Meeting on Wayfinding Project

    Dec. 4, 2012 Public Meeting Presentation [PDF]

    Mar. 21, 2014 Press Release - New Downtown Signs to Help Navigation, Reduce Visual Clutter








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