HOT SPRINGS – The City of Hot Springs recently received notice of programming approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation through its Eastern Federal Lands Access Program for a wayfinding project that will connect the City of Hot Springs and Hot Springs National Park (HSNP). The project proposal, supported by both HSNP Superintendent Josie Fernandez and the Hot Springs Board of Directors, involves providing wayfinding connections between the north trailhead of the Hot Springs Creek Greenway Trail (HSGT), located in the Transportation Plaza, and Hot Springs National Park’s Grand Promenade and Bathhouse Row.
The project goal is to alleviate traffic and parking stress in the more congested downtown area while encouraging health and recreation. This will be accomplished through active promotion of the physical connection to pedestrian and bicycle paths, benefiting Hot Springs’ unique mix of urban and National Park areas downtown. Residents and visitors can park in the Transportation Plaza and walk, run or bike to the HSNP, facilitating their enjoyment and awareness of the area’s cultural and historical significance and natural beauty.
The wayfinding path from the North Trailhead in the Transportation Plaza to Hot Springs National Park (attached) will involve inlaying a decorative brick path, 2 feet wide and 2,200 feet long, along existing sidewalks and signing it using customized urethane domed markers, similar to those used on curbs for storm drain marking, at intersections or at intervals of 100 feet. A red brick pattern edged with yellow brick, similar to the brickwork on Hot Springs National Park’s Grand Promenade, will be utilized, providing a visual cue for wayfinding. The markers will point north to the HSNP and point south toward the HSGT.
The wayfinding connection project allows the existing sidewalks and shared use path to be incorporated into an active alternative transportation link by using the brickwork as a visual route cue and the urethane domed markers for directional confidence. Wayfinding is in keeping with the health, recreation, environmental and sustainability goals listed in America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, the National Park Service Director’s Call to Action, Hot Springs Parks Master Plan and Hot Springs 2030 Comprehensive Plan Update.
The estimated total project cost, including sidewalk demolition and excavation, purchase and installation of decorative brick, and domed markers, is $92,400. The project is proposed to begin in late fall.