Wayfinding Project for Florida’s Bike 5 Cities Path

The GAI Community Solutions Group contributes time and talent to a project to mark Central Florida’s Bike 5 Cities route, creating a safe bike path connecting Orlando, Winter Park, Eatonville, Maitland, and Casselberry.


Pro Bono Project to Enhance Regional Recreation

The Bike 5 Cities tour is an annual event in which hundreds of cyclists and walkers gather to take a 28-mile tour through several Central Florida municipalities. Members of the GAI Community Solutions Group (CSG) recently embarked on a pro bono project to create the Bike 5 Cities Wayfinding Master Plan, which presents permanent wayfinding signage to help make the full tour route easily accessible for cyclists and walkers year-round.

Bike 5 Cities
Image courtesy Bike/Walk Central Florida

The Bike 5 Cities tour route makes a circuit through the cities of Orlando, Winter Park, Eatonville, Maitland, and Casselberry. “The circuit connects several designated bike routes along with neighborhood streets that have been identified as low-traffic and low-stress,” said GAI Urban Planner Wes Shaffer, AICP. “The Bike 5 Cities Wayfinding Master Plan project seeks to permanently mark that route to help cyclists and walkers enjoy alternative-vehicle recreation anytime, as safely as possible.”

Along with GAI teammates Sr. Project Planner Ana Oropeza and Marketing Coordinator Dao Nguyen, Shaffer worked with client nonprofit Bike/Walk Central Florida to define the route and devise clear and consistent signage that will allow users to enter and exit the path at any point they choose.

Riding Bike 5 Cities Path, Exploring Options, Engaging Client Cities

Work started by traveling the Bike 5 Cities route to perform a field analysis of the project area. “In this phase of the project, the team used Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to map the route—identifying portions of the circuit that were already designated bike routes and creating an accurate inventory of in-place poles and other structures that could support wayfinding signage,” said Shaffer. Identifying existing poles offered the municipalities along the route the opportunity to install the signage without the need to invest in new infrastructure.

Once the route and possible sign positions had been defined, the team moved on to designing the signage itself. “The goal was to unify the Bike 5 Cites route by creating a palette of simple, highly readable wayfinding signs that are consistent with the Bike 5 Cities brand,” said Oropeza, the GAI CSG’s wayfinding specialist. “The palette offers a range of applications to suit the varying spots along the route where they’ll be utilized, and that support the needs of each city’s portion of the trail.”

Bike 5 Cities signage

Finally, the team packaged the findings and recommendations into the Bike 5 Cities Wayfinding Master Plan, which was presented to the five municipalities on June 11. “In the master plan, each of the five cities along the route is responsible for fabricating and installing the signs within their own sections of the route. We focused on presenting the overall concept in a way that each city would be able to interpret and conceivably implement using their in-place sign shops and municipal employees,” said Shaffer “The attendees seemed to come away excited by what we presented, and were overall receptive to the plan,” said Oropeza.

“The GAI staff were extremely professional and it was evident they had a personal commitment to the goal of safer streets for cycling.”

Lisa Portelli, Bike/Walk Central Florida

Expressing a Commitment to Community

Pavement treatmentThe pro bono work performed for the Bike 5 Cities Wayfinding Master plan is product of the GAI CSG’s mission to support communities by improving amenities, quality of life, and each community’s unique sense of place.

“The GAI staff were extremely professional and it was evident they had a personal commitment to the goal of safer streets for cycling,” said Bike/Walk Central Florida board member Lisa Portelli, the key client contact on the Bike 5 Cities Wayfinding Master Plan project.

“We are absolutely focused on the livability of our community and all the communities that we work in,” said Shaffer. “We do our best to empathize with peoples’ needs and aspirations—and many times, we live in these communities ourselves. A lot of us are cyclists, and many of us have kids, relatives, and friends who bicycle—so we share Bike/Walk Central Florida’s dedication to supporting a walkable, bikeable Central Florida, and we are very excited to play a useful role in helping make that goal a reality.”

Contact Wes Shaffer, AICP, 321.319.3039, or Ana Oropeza, 321-319-3075, for more information about the GAI Community Solutions Group’s comprehensive suite of development, planning, landscape architecture, and economic services.


Wes Shaffer, AICP is an urban planning geek who seeks to design places that support the aspirations of people. Wes takes a Human-Centered Design approach to discover a community’s true needs and issues, then uses prototyping and experimentation to design breakthrough solutions.

Ana Oropeza is a graphic designer who combines in-depth research with analytic and creative thinking to produce data-driven concepts that focus firmly on project character and goals. Creative and versatile, Ana is adept in both 2-D and 3-D design work, and her background in industrial design gives her an extensive working knowledge of fabrication and materials, and experience with construction documents for both private and municipal development.

Dao Nguyen is a graphic designer with an extensive range of expertise in print, motion, 3-D, web, and mobile design and production. She focuses on simplifying complex messages and helping people learn by doing. Dao is passionate about stewardship and sustainability, and is particularly interested in providing design and graphics support for the healthcare, education, community, and transportation markets. 

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