Sign of the times: Parking made easier for motorists in West Chester

WEST CHESTER—The Bicentennial Garage on High Street is hidden in plain sight.

The borough will be adding dozens of new signs and decluttering, or taking down several signs that don’t meet guidelines, all over the borough. New signs will be upgraded to current standards.

Parking Director Clark Elms said the new signs will be more visible, uniform, bigger and make it a little easier for people to locate parking.

Prospective motorists wishing to park drive right by the garage’s brick facade so often while seeking parking that after 20 years the borough is going to post new “PARK” signs. “It blends in so well that people miss it,” Borough Manager Mike Perrone said, at a recent meeting.

“Anytime you make it easier to find parking so people aren’t circling around the block trying to find an open meter is good,” Elms said. He also said it’s better for the environment.

The work might start before the end of the year, with the bidding process yet to commence.

John F. Bosio is principal at MERJE, a West Chester firm that does work locally and in both Miami and New Orleans. Bosio said it was nice to work in the firm’s hometown. Plans call for kiosks and pedestrian information signage for parkers at lots and the garages. The easiest routes to places such as the justice center and Chester County Historical Society will be posted. There will also be signage to get pedestrians back to their cars.

“The return is as important as the arrival,” Bosio said. Bosio wants to make it simple.

“If it is easy to park, people are more likely to come back,” he said. “If it’s difficult to find parking and frustrating it will hamper the experience.”

The signs will also direct newcomers to different places the borough has to offer.

“West Chester is very much a pedestrian town,” Bosio said. “There’s not much (signage) at pedestrian level.”Bosio and MERJE are also revamping Brandywine Valley signs, with some new designs already posted around Wilmington.

Bill Rettew-MEDIANEWS GROUP | Daily Local News