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WalkNYC maps to help people find their way around city

It'll be easier soon to find your way around New York City, officials said Monday.

By August, there will be 100 outdoor map kiosks scattered about three boroughs, with four already up in Chinatown, the city transportation department said.

The 81/2-foot-tall WalkNYC stations include a large map of the streets near the kiosk as well as information about the approximate time it would take to walk to the nearest subway stations and other places of interest. The maps don't have touch screens.

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said the city's dense geography confuses a lot of people, so the agency came up with the idea to send pedestrians in the right direction.

"Whether you're a lifelong New Yorker or a traveler, we know that feeling when you don't know where you're going once you get out of the subway," she said at a news conference near a kiosk at Mulberry and Worth streets.

There are two maps on each side of the kiosk, one that shows the streets within a 20-minute walk and another that shows a larger area of the neighborhood.

Sadik-Khan said the kiosks will be in geographical sync with the streets located nearby.

"You no longer have to guess where north, south, east or west is," she said.

The kiosks came as a result of hundreds of studies by the city DOT, including one that found 33 percent of New Yorkers couldn't figure out where north was.

Visitors who passed by one of the Chinatown stations said the kiosks made their trips more efficient.

"I like the clarity of it, and the time estimations," said Deanna Smithey, 50, a tourist from Kentucky. "I hope it doesn't really take that long to get to Battery Park."

Sadik-Khan said the DOT will make the WalkNYC data available for software developers to create apps. The department is in talks with the MTA to place the maps in subway stations and near select bus service stops, she said.

The $6 million program, which is paid for mostly with federal money, will set up 100 kiosks spread across lower Manhattan; the Garment District; Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; and Long Island City, Queens, locations that the commissioner said have the heaviest foot traffic.

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