I want to show you a few signs in comparison, which are Dutch and notify drivers about free or paid parking. Those are (imho) very clear and only show when you need to pay. If you're outside that time frame, it's free:
1.  Paid parking all days between 18:00 and 24:00
2.  Paid parking from Mondays to Saturdays between 9:00 and 18:00, you're only allowed to stay for two hours max
3.  Paid parking from Mondays to Saturdays between 9:00 and 24:00 and on Sundays from 13:00 to 24:00
Am I just crazy, or are those signs way more easier to understand than the graphical green/red bars (especially from a greater distance)? I truly like the designers take to the problem, but isn't it just crazy you have to redesign individual rules to make the time slots understandable?
One example would be Downtown Austin. There are streets that are closed down to allow for maximum pedestrian traffic, but this is only at night. During the day, the parking is needed for people who have business in the downtown area. However, to discourage too many drivers, the parking during weekdays is paid. On the margin, this will discourage some potential drivers and they will take alternate methods of transportation. On the weekends, when the downtown non-retail businesses are closed, there is no longer the need to discourage drivers. At this point, you want to encourage retail traffic, which means making parking free.
Now, whether all this incentive manipulation is worth it, is another story, but I believe the above is the rationale for having multiple rules.
In many cities, there is also street sweeping to consider. I know that is the particular reason that has caught out many of my friends in LA.
More likely they simply will not go there, or will visit another location (drive to the burbs, etc).
There is another interesting aspect of the parking problem that hasn't been discussed, which is the environmental damage parking regulations cause. If you're not a $250K/yr programmer on the coasts, a $95 parking ticket is an expensive surprise, and equivalent to at least 200 miles of driving. So, if parking tickets are expensive and a uncontrollable confusopoly cost of living, its cheaper / safer / more predictable to simply drive out to the burbs, where theres usually a better selection of businesses anyway. Which wastes a lot of gas. I can afford the tickets, and there's plenty of dying retail downtown where I work, but I don't want to deal with getting tickets, paying tickets, getting towed, I live in the burbs anyway, so the downtown loses a lot of economic activity and the environment loses because of extra driving. But the priority is people aren't driving downtown. Sort of a stealth zoning, this area not fit for retail, but we'll categorize it as retail anyway. This also fits into the "high cost of being poor" concept where I might save $100 on rent on paper by living downtown in a bad area, but if the stealth tax of $95 of monthly parking tickets is applied, plus the hassle, I'm better off in the burbs.
You can run convenience stores and bars solely on walk in traffic, but there's more to life than doritos and getting drunk, or there should be. The destruction of brick and mortar retail by online will have some interesting effects... Now, or certainly in the future, I could live in a city without a car and unable to visit (closed/closing) retail shops as long as UPS still delivers "the good stuff"
Lack of competition also has a stealth tax on the residents. Why sell a banana for less than $5 if you're the only banana seller in walking distance. In car country the market is more competitive so I may burn $1 of gas to go shopping, but I'll save 50% on a bag of groceries so its a huge net win as long as my bag of groceries costs more than $2 or so.
Strongly disagree. In Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, there's a block with not one, but two shops that sell only chess sets and things related to chess. Old, walkable downtowns (the ones that have survived the advent of the car, at least) have just as much diversity of retail businesses as the homogenous suburbs (where you have your Best Buy, your Walmart, your Olive Garden, and so on), if not more.
Plenty of midsize cities worldwide work on various combination of mass transit, automobiles, walking, and bicycles. The automobile monoculture in most midsize American cities is a product of our early development of cheap automobiles combined with federal policies massively subsidizing highways and the racial paroxysms of the mid-20th century.
Even Canadian midsize cities, which in many ways are very similar to those in USA (except for far worse weather) have far higher transit usage. In Calgary, 'the Dallas of Canada', full of oil money & newly-built single-family homes, 24.3% of commuters use transit, and that's considered low!
Likewise, newly built Dutch suburbs have many features that resemble American suburbia, but have good bike lanes and acceptable bus transit:
Manhattan is still dependent on transit because it's one of the few places in America that's so dense, even 60 years of dedicated auto-first policy couldn't change the facts on the ground.
Manhattan is still dependent on transit because it's one of the few places in America that's so dense, even 60 years of dedicated auto-first policy couldn't change the facts on the ground. But America had many other transit-oriented downtowns & dense neighborhoods, still has a few, and could have more again!
Optimistic at best. Some cites like NY are better equipped for alternate transport, but my experience in California is less than stellar. Although it is my primary transport, outside of a ride between classes in university, I rarely see people my age cycling for non-recreational purposes. No only is there no desire, but most nonresidential streets I ride on have inadequate accommodations for bikes.
Trains in some cities are usable, but the coverage and stop frequency leaves much to be desired. I didn't even bother with the bus in LA. Not only did I have to travel 1 mile to get to the nearest stop, but when I wanted to travel on weekends waiting 40min+ for a bus wasn't worth it. In stark contrast to my experience Seoul which had a fantastic system of buses, trains, and taxis!
The fact that $200,000 houses sit on $800,000+ worth of land in Silicon Valley means that, if policy were changed to allow reasonable density, Silicon Valley would quickly densify to the point that walkable neighborhood retail and mass transit would have a lot of customers. And mass transit needs a lot of customers to run at a reasonable frequency.
Not so. It turns out there was a sticker on the parking meter below bumper level that was basically invisible that said 2hr max. Two parking tickets later (plus a third fron trying to park somewhere else by my building that should have been fine), I hated cities. I could barely afford to eat (ramen profitable) and only drove the bare minimum, and here was this insane expense when I could least afford it. I moved out of the city and didn't spend a dime there for years as a result.
I think means-adjusted fees could be reasonable, but there should be lower and upper limits, particularly for laws where the fees are there to raise revenue or direct behavior, rather than protect the public.
(Yes--I know you can plead your case in front of a judge on some infractions, but the courts aren't as accommodating as they were in the past.)
Time and transportation to the court can be just as difficult for some to obtain as the money for the ticket. If the person in question has a job schedule or medical condition that makes daytime errands more difficult, it's even more discouraging.
In my neck of the woods, It cost's $10 to even begin to contest a ticket.
Fortunately, some (or at least one small one) of the cities around here consider it a central part of the right to due process and a speedy trial that choosing a trial cannot make your situation worse than just paying the fine. So, you can have your day in court, and if you lose, the fine is the same.
Your post would have been just fine without this.
The problem is its an anecdote in a discussion about public policy and lifestyle for 100% of the population, when only 0.03% of the city population can actually visit.
* Whether its ok to stop temporarily depends on how busy the road is.
* The parking spots are on a major road that has a lot of traffic from commuters - you need the extra lane at certain times.
* The parking spots are near a school or other attraction that has predictable bursts of parking demand.
You can resolve some of this by being overly restrictive about parking, but that's a suboptimal solution. If the parking spots are near businesses then I can guarantee that there will be lobby groups very unhappy with the suboptimal solution.
There are three options:
- You can park here for free
- You must pay to park here
- You cannot park here
You're examples only relate to the first two, where you can always park, but sometimes you have to pay and sometimes you don't. It's easy in those cases to only specify when you have to pay, even when the schedule is different on Sunday (like your third example).
When you have to add in additional information about when you cannot park (for cleaning, snow removal, altered traffic patterns during heavy commute times, etc), now you need two signs. Well, or two notices on the same sign. You can park for free if it's not a time on either notice. This is in the example at the top of the article.
- You can park here for free for two hours
- You can park here for free for as long as you want
- You must pay to park here and can park for up an hour
- You must pay to park here and can park for up to two hours
- You must pay to park here and can park as long as you want to pay for
- You cannot park here
- you cannot park here on such and such time for street cleaning.
- you cannot park here on such and such time for rush hour
- you cannot park here on such and such time for snow removal.
Plus there are license plates that are sometimes given permission to illegally park based on the reasons not to park.
- (unsigned, city-wide bylaw) you cannot park anywhere during such hours without a permit unless otherwise indicated
- (unsigned, city-wide bylaw) you cannot park anywhere for more than 3 hours unless otherwise indicated
- you cannot park between the signs (taxi stand/pickup)
- no stopping anytime
- you can not park here on school days
- handicapped parking only
- commercial loading only
- 3 minute passenger loading!
- Taxi-only parking
- Ambulance waiting spot
All of these spots are also "idling police car" spots.
When a sign serves to delineate areas with certain rules using arrows (e.g. no parking past this sign).
- Parking for loading/unloading only
The only example for "irregular" no parking times I've seen in Germany are special exceptions for markets (typically Wednesday and Sunday, but the sign won't tell you if the market is cancelled on a particular day for a particular reason and you won't get towed or fined if you then park there when the market isn't happening) or special occasions (e.g. a circus) where they put up a temporary sign a week in advance.
I guess Germans really are more efficient (while simultaneously being more in love with having rules for every eventuality).
However: it's hard to argue that the three cases that I listed are too many rules, yet it's easy to see that they can cause too many signs using the OP's design. Such a simplification made the point much clearer, but I should have made that explicit.
- Free parking (5 hours remaining)
- No Parking (4.5 hours remaining)
Of course, that has its own problems, (Power, vandalism, bugs ...) but it would help drivers a LOT. As the article said, no one cares about WHY they can't park, usually. It's only "can I park here right now?" that matters in most cases.
"Free parking (1h 45m remaining)" doesn't help if you want to park for 2 hours and don't know if the next time period is "no parking" or "max 1 hour parking".
The third most important thing is likely knowing about some time in the future, like "will my visiting friend be able to park here on Saturday evening?"
- When standing is allowed
- Different sets of rules for commercial or permitted vehicles
They could post two of the proposed signs, one for commercial and one for noncommercial vehicles, for example, but standing rules are going to be harder to add to that design without making it more confusing.
Then at least I know that I'm looking at all of the information that pertains to me, and that this information isn't contradictory.
I suppose if you want to put non-parking rules (e.g. idling rules) on a parking sign, and then complain that the parking sign is too complicated, then that's a different problem.
Need temporary exceptions for snow removal? Change the signs. Can't afford to change the signs so often? Don't make so many and complicated exceptions or schedules.
You can make a really reasonable system by only using simple signs in the form "[park here/don't park here/pay-park here] IF [time-range-sign] OTHERWISE default". Many countries are successfully doing this - my home city is just fine and most of the parking signs are either (a) no parking here; (b) pay-parking on workdays 7:00-21:00 (otherwise default free-parking); (c) no-parking on 7:00-19:00 on workdays (to free up a lane for traffic) or (d) parking forbidden except permit #xyz.
I had another confusion because of my ignorance of the language. A light up sign at an intersection in Leidschendam: "Tunnel afgesloten - ga rechtdoor" with the path to the tunnel on the right. I recognized "tunnel closed, go right..." but it really means "go right through," in other words, "go straight."
But that is cultural. This problem isn't limited to parking signs. For example, see http://port-orange.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/No_U_Turn.j... or https://janiceheck.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/ped-xing.jpg
I cannot imagine there can be people with a driver's license who do not understand those signs, yet can understand the text below it, and have time to read them while driving by at 40 mph.
I would leave out the 'helpful' text or if that's legally problematic, think before ordering the sign, and get a single sign that includes the label. That's cheaper, and makes the world look a bit nicer (does anybody have statistics on # of traffics signs per capita or per mile of road? I expect the USA to score high in both)
But how would someone visiting/freshly immigrating there know that if it's not displayed somewhere?
Before you know it, the street is full of signs, and drivers haven't time left to attend to the traffic (actually, that might explain the relatively high number of traffic deaths in the USA)
When you visit another country and intend to drive a car, you have to spend some time studying the local traffic rules.
Also, AFAIK, free parking is the default all over the world.
Until the parking signs were explained to me, I had assumed these meant no parking except during these times, and that everyone parking in the spot should buy parking permission from the machine.
No parking: 10pm-6am
1 hour parking: 6am-10pm
I know I would need to stop and study a sign like that to understand it. This is an example of something that looks pretty but is actually useless, like a lot of design trends lately.
Oh, goody, I get to teach colorblindness again!
The "common form of color blindness" which is usually referred to as "red-green colorblindness" actually does not tend to affect the ability to distinguish red from green. In fact, many people who have this condition -- properly known as deuteranomlous trichromacy or deuteranomaly -- have it without ever realizing it (I didn't know until one day during an eye exam I was given an Ishihara test, and until that point had never had difficulty telling red from green traffic lights, red stop signs from green grass, etc.).
Deuteranomaly involves production of an altered form of γ-photopsin, which is the photoreceptor protein typically associated with "green" in RGB color vision. This causes a shift in the wavelengths to which it responds, so that the overlap between it and ρ-photopsin ("red") becomes greater.
This does not remove the ability to perceive green, but does affect the ability to distinguish hues which fall into the wavelengths in that overlapping area of the spectrum.
An easy way to imagine this effect is to consider a square of pure red projected onto a blank wall, and then introduction of increasing amounts of green into it. The square will move from appearing red to appearing orange to appearing yellow (yellow being made up of red and green in equal amounts). At the point where "normal" color vision would see equal amounts of red and green producing yellow, deuteranomalous color vision will still see slightly more red than green and thus perceive it as still slightly orange.
To cause difficulty distinguishing red from green, an impairment would have to be uncommonly severe, or would have to involve some form of dichromacy (where only two, rather than all three, sets of cones -- red, green, blue -- are present/functioning).
Red-green "blindness" comes in two flavours: protanomaly (red deficiency) and deuteranomaly (green deficiency). Both can vary in their severity.
I'm deuteranomalous, that means I don't perceive green as intensely as someone with normal colour vision. Basically, green always appears much less saturated to me, whether it stands on its own or as part of a hue. This also means browns will appear more "red" to me.
Additionally this means I find it much more difficult to tell "similar" shades of red and green (and the various hues in between) apart, especially when the surfaces are very small. I think this has to do with red and green normally having a difference in luminosity and me relying on the luminosity as an additional "hint" when processing the colours.
Also note that the reason many men with colourblindness remain entirely unaware of it is not that they aren't affected by it but that there simply isn't much awareness of it in popular culture.
My maternal grandfather was a photographer and would often ask his wife for opinions on colour matching and had a tendency to pick atrocious colour combinations for his clothing, but he never thought of himself as being colour blind.
Although there were a few hints in my childhood that I'm colour blind (e.g. painting trunks and leaves in the same colour, using green as a skin colour when painting "brown" people, mixing up blue, purple and turquoise a lot, having difficulties with colour coded maps on the overhead projector) the only reason my parents became aware of it being actual colour blindness (rather than just childish quirkiness) was that we did a couple of health tests in elementary school that included an Ishihara test.
Note that I never had trouble telling apart the colours on traffic lights either, although I must say that with the newer traffic lights that were introduced during my childhood I noticed the green having become much fainter (because they are brighter). It's only now that I've begun driving that I notice that green traffic lights at night frequently blend into the scenery alongside the fluorescent street lights.
EDIT: Here's an article showing the world pretty much as I see it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8928770
For anyone wandering by, the full spectrum (pun intended) of things that tend to be called "colorblindness" is:
* Deuteranomaly: most common by far, involves mutated γ-photopsin shifting the peak and range of the "green" response further toward "red".
* Protanomaly: more rare, involves mutated ρ-photopsin shifting the peak and range of the "red" response. Similar effects on ability to distinguish colors, but also "darkens" the far red end of the visible spectrum toward black due to the way it shifts response.
* Tritanomaly: even more rare, involves mutated β-photopsin shifting the peak and range of the "blue" response. Is the only one of these three which is as prevalent in women as men, though, due to the way the genetics works out (deuteranomaly and protanomaly would require a woman to get the mutation on both X chromosomes).
Taken together these are called "anomalous trichromacy" conditions -- all three types of color photoreceptor proteins are produced by cones in the eyes, but not the "normal" forms of each, resulting in a shift of response.
Then there are the dichromacy conditions, where one set of color-distinguishing cone cells is basically completely lacking:
* Deuteranopia = no "green"
* Protanopia = no "red"
* Tritanopia = no "blue"
Deuteranopia and protanopia again affect similar ranges of the spectrum, but protanopia again "darkens" the far end. And tritanopia is, once again, equal prevalence in men and women due to the genetics.
Finally there's monochromacy, where either there are no cones at all (no color, just shades of grey, and usually drastically reduced visual acuity), or only a single type of cones (shades of that color + greys, better visual acuity when in good lighting conditions).
(for a non-technical term I much prefer "green weakness" since it doesn't have the OH MY GOD YOU CAN'T TELL RED AND GREEN APART AT ALL connotations)
(and personally, when I do have problems with color, it tends to be in that yellow-y/beige-y/earth-tone-y bit of the spectrum, much like your experience, and so I wish people would be more careful with those rather than caring about whether red and green are different enough colors)
You would need to "stop and study" the sign the first time you see one. After that, it looks like every day planner used in school and business, paper and app alike.
Some of the complaints here are classic "lazy programmer" reaction to unavoidable complexity--make the solution easier by solving a different problem. Sometime's that's the right approach, but someone isn't incompetent for choosing a more complex solution that solves a problem more precisely.
But no citizen can actually protest a parking ticket on the grounds of bad signage.
Well consider Ferguson, the city with such out of control fines/fees that there are more warrants for the arrest of citizens who owe fees for minor infractions than there are citizens!
Historically governments have had such asymmetric power over individuals that we take for granted that signs are beyond reproach. What is so inspiring about this designer's work is that it is so refreshingly democratic.
A lot of municipalities are also being screwed pretty hard by state-level policies. Many states cap how much a municipality can raise through "legitimate" taxation (eg, property, sales and income taxes) while imposing mandates on what services the municipalities must provide. Meanwhile, municipalities have an even worse time taking on debt than the state government. So it's not too uncommon for a municipality to end up in the position of being unable to meet its obligations, having nothing left to cut, and no authority to raise taxes.
My wife successfully contested an expired meter citation from Fort Worth just a few months ago for that very reason.
Personally I would doubt that the signage was made purposefully confusing out of "malice". But any attempt to simplify it, now that it exists, will have to deal with a "but it will decrease revenue" excuse.
Its not uncommon for streets to allow parking but not at night or during rush hours so that all lanes can be used for traffic.
For instance the usual restrictions are no parking before 6am and then no parking between 7 and 9am and then no parking between 4 and 6pm and then no parking after midnight.
The dutch signs are fine for sleepy towns but wouldn't be acceptable for a city.
Let's take an example (Google Maps link below). The round sign with blue background with red stripe over it is "no parking", and the additional sign below says "payment required during 9-20 hours weekdays, 16-20 hours Saturdays, 16-20 hours Sundays, other times free parking", then "price zone 2, maximum parking time with payment is 2 hours", then "free parking with resident parking permit for zone H". And the blue sign is "payment machine that way".
That big stack of signs in the beginning of the article is there because there's different traffic control being used at different times during the week. Whether good or bad, they've gone the route of drilling their statistical analyses down to parts of week days (and school day or holiday, in some cases) to determine traffic flow and how parked cars effects it.
Not saying one is better than the other. Just, that the systems that result come from different initial conditions.
If it's used to indicate the end of the day, such as the end of a time range within that day, use 24:00.
Anywhere else, use 0:00.
For example, if you want to say "free parking between 10 pm and midnight": 22:00 - 24:00
If you want to say "free parking from midnight to 3 am": 00:00 - 03:00
I hear in Japan train schedules actually use (or used?) numbers higher than 24 for the edge case of needing to indicate "3 am of the next day", e.g. 22:00 - 27:00, but I've never seen that elsewhere. In Germany that would simply be "22:00 - 03:00" with the date change implied (for timespans equal to or larger than 24 hours you would need to indicate the dates in question anyway, so it's not ambiguous).
In short: "Friday, 24:00" is equivalent to "Saturday, 00:00" but implies you're talking about something that happens on Friday (such as a deadline ending "Friday night").
Ignore the "1 minute" (the "minute" was a printer error; it was supposed to be "hour") but this is as complicated as the signs get: https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/1-minute-parki...
All the other restrictions are mostly special cases:
* Street cleaning (weekly for a few hours)
* Rush hour no-stopping (because drivers tend to stop/wait on busy streets)
* Rush hour no-parking (often used to switch a lane to/from parking)
* School zone loading-only during pick-up/drop-off times
* Loading-only (or taxi) zones during busy bar nights (Friday/Saturday nights)
* Permit parking exemptions (so people who live near business districts aren't subjected to timed restrictions)
* Permit-only parking
* Limiting overnight parking
* Temporary no-parking/no-stopping (used a lot for road work and filming)
* Special-class parking (cars with someone who has a walking handicap, car-sharing programs, etc.)
Then other distinctions that are important (that often don't get communicated on redesigned signs) are:
* Ticket vs tow-away
* Ticket cost increases (LA has "anti-gridlock zones" that double the fines during rush hours)
* How to pay (e.g. for areas with centralized meters or maybe pay-by-phone)
* * *
Each of those special-case restrictions has a good purpose (theoretically the city has determined they'll be somehow beneficial) so to make parking simpler, they'll either need to do away with special cases or expand them to make parking more restrictive.
In addition, most signs come from a template and it's probably much easier / more cost effective to just grab a sign off a stack or just fill in a template.
After I saw these signs, I thought they were a great idea but after looking around where I actually park, they would make parking much more confusing. The sign outside my apartment says "No parking 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Thursdays, Street cleaning" and the nearby business district has "2 hour parking M-F 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Weekends 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.".
Most of the huge/confusing signs you find pictures of online are 1-2 normal restrictions stacked with a lot of single-day temporary signs. (I'm guessing a lot of construction/movies buy signs that say "no parking" with a single weekday and it's easier to buy two, one for Friday and one for Saturday, than it is to custom-make one with "Friday & Saturday".)
Keep in mind that these signs are in addition to other roadway markings like painted curbs, painted meters (short-term parking meters are often painted a different color), and flashing parking meters (most LA parking meters have a flashing light during a restricted parking period). Also drivers need to be able to scan the parking signs when they're going 10-20mph so color codes and large symbols often help to know when a restriction starts/ends.
The majority of the time, parking signs are very clear and seem well designed. Some of the worst cases (say 3+ restrictions) may benefit from redesigned signs. I guess we'll have to see them in use and live with them for a bit to make a better judgement
Same reason for Red Light Cameras and Speed Cameras. Safety? Maybe as a side effect... but we need those monies to make up for budget shortfalls!!!
Throw in Business Hours, school zones, happy hour, etc...
Also... the US is stupidly enshrined in making everything against the law - and punishable with fines (or more)... For being the Land of the Free, we sure do love our laws...
I attempted a similar solution using a "universal language for time and date" that I created.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o_n4XBKZUI Never really went anywhere beyond the video though.
1. The current NYC signs have arrows indicating directionality of the applicable rules. There are three kinds ( <--, -->, and <-->). Only one of their design example shows this information and it's implementation seems awkward.
2. The current NYC signs are theoretically reproducible and modular. Stacking them one on top of one another makes the driver feel like they are divining tea leaves, but the city might see it as minimizing costs. They can cut a couple hundred "Alternate Side Street Parking" signs for Mon./Wed. 9:30a-10:30a, and put them where they need to. With these signs, you are more likely to have a unique sign for every block.
3. I'm not colorblind, but are the green and red bars they've used colorblind safe? The red stripes are hard for me to see on my monitor, but maybe that is the intention. EDIT: Ah, I see in the infographic, that they've considered colorblindness. Still, the difference in the reds seems pretty subtle.
4. The text size gets increasingly small the more detailed the scheduled is.
EDIT: The relevant section for parking signs from the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices), the USA DOT publication on signs, says this:
Parking signs should display the following information from top to bottom of the sign, in the order listed:
A. The restriction or prohibition;
B. The times of the day that it is applicable, if not at all hours; and
C. The days of the week that it is applicable, if not every day.
If the parking restriction applies to a limited area or zone, the limits of the restriction should be shown by arrows or supplemental plaques. If arrows are used and if the sign is at the end of a parking zone, there should be a single-headed arrow pointing in the direction that the regulation is in effect. If the sign is at an intermediate point in a zone, there should be a double-headed arrow pointing both ways. When a single sign is used at the transition point between two parking zones, it should display a right and left arrow pointing in the direction that the respective restrictions apply.
So overall, it seems that these would be rubbing against the established grain, but perhaps a change like this is needed.
Edit: I see you saw what I see. Without being colorblind myself, I'm not sure... but I would think the different textures (Solid vs striped) should stand out. I can only assume that she's received valid feedback on "Red with white background" vs "Red with red background" in choosing what she chose.
One sign has a column for "MWF" and a column for "T-Th". The latter I guess is meant to mean Tuesday and Thursday, but it sure looks like Tuesday through Thursday.
Another example shows two traditional signs, one says "No Parking Nightly 10PM-6AM". The second says "1 hour parking 8AM-6PM except Sunday." The designer somehow interprets this as allowing parking from Midnight-6AM Sunday morning, but no parking 10PM-Midnight on Saturday night.
Lastly, she uses "T" for Tuesday, "Th" for Thursday, "Sa" for Saturday, and "S" for Sunday. The "T" and "S" should be "Tu" and "Su" to be less ambiguous.
Like I said, great ideas. But I also think I know why the designer gets parking tickets a lot...
(S)unday for the start of the week.
Thu(R)sday since the R is pronounced with a strong "urr".
Saturda(Y) since it's the last day of the week.
It still a bit ambiguous, but it has helped me over the years.
Choose other countries from the dropdown and you'll see many, if not most, have the week starting on Monday and ending on Sunday.
Fixed your US-centricism there.
Avgift means fee. The intervals specify when the fee applies.
* White digits: Hours of weekdays.
* White digits in parens: Hours of days before holidays (read: Saturdays, Christmas eve etc.).
* Red digits: Hours of holidays (Sundays, Chistmas day etc.).
In the case where the default is "no parking", the top sign will be a dashed or crossed red circle (the first meaning you can stop to let people off but not park, the other meaning that you can not stop there for any reason). There can then be a sign below it that specifies times when parking is allowed.
Parking tickets in the cities which have these sorts of sign issues (DC, NYC, Chicago, ATL, etc) make up a significant amount of income for the city. Paid parking certainly adds up but if a single space nets the city $10-$20 per day, a single parking ticket could cover a weeks worth of revenue for that single spot while still allowing the space to earn $10-$20 a day for the rest of the week.
I agree it sucks, and I was burned by this exact problem when I traveled to DC with my family last winter. However it's unlikely to change, because not only would the change actually cost money to implement, it would (significantly) reduce the income to the city from parking tickets.
There is also a disconnect between intent and enforcement. For example, I live by a school. No parking M-F, 8am-3pm because busses have to get through. Makes sense. But neighbors have been ticketed on the Friday after Thanksgiving: they're violating the sign, but not the intent of the sign.
Instead, fine moneys should be ear-marked towards remediation and reparation of the 'crime' committed. E.g., in this case, all parking fine money could be put into a fund towards building parking ramps. In the case of speeding tickets fine money should go towards rumble-strips, guard rails, additional lanes and other features that make it safe to drive at higher speeds. Etc. Etc.
In October 2014, she got an email from Los Angeles city
council person Paul Krekorkian. He wasn’t writing to ask
her to stop producing LA signs. On the contrary: he wanted
her permission to propose her design at the next council
Parking tickets exist because public property in urban areas is extremely valuable and the opportunity cost of letting some scofflaw waste the space is enormous.
Google 'chicago parking meter privatization' for more info (some of it likely to be biased).
I think the better argument is that they were incompetent.
Also Chicago sold the rights in a fire sale due to some combination of budget shortfall, corruption, and incompetence. After the fact, independent appraisers found the contract should have been worth more than $2B, but was sold for just over $1B.
Also, like most unsolicited unofficial redesigns, it ignores real-world constraints. How much does it cost to produce these very specific signs vs combining modular and reusable generic signs?
Probably less than the cost of a single parking ticket.
As for your corner cases, there are some signs depicted with text at the bottom which can cover those scenarios. Not perfect, but I think it's a step up from what people have to deal with today.
I really doubt that, but my point is that none of us know. Design is a lot easier when you're ignorant of any cost or logistical constraints.
> As for your corner cases, there are some signs depicted with text at the bottom...
I guess it's better, but it seems like greatly more complexity in creating and managing signs for only a little benefit. At least around me those aren't corner cases: pretty much every sign would have one or more additional restrictions or exceptions. In front of my house it's two-hour parking Monday through Saturday except for residents, and no parking on Mondays during the Fall. I think that's pretty typical for DC.
EDIT: If you could do a countdown timer to the next state, though, that'd be useful.
Come to think of it, many cities could stand to benefit from a public API with alerts and infrastructure notices. Too bad it's probably not in their budgets.
The #1 reason is that parking laws change.
Where there was no rule a year ago, there may be now, for all kinds of reasons. This means a sign needs to be added or changed. Some reasons for rule adds or changes:
* new growth in the area causes increased demand for parking, requiring restrictions on non-resident parking. * a new area gets appropriated as part of a city/county and new enforcement follows. * residents are tired of their spaces getting yanked by people outside the neighborhood. * street traffic changes due to development, causing increased demand along a new street, creating the need for more restriction. * street cleaning is (finally) implemented, or schedules change. * a new commercial entity requires loading zones. * a new school pops up or is [re]moved
The #2 reason for the current sign design is visibility.
You have to be able to read a parking sign from your car, on the road, while moving, in inclement weather, and considering not everyone's sight is 'ideal'. Even if there was one sign, often there are multiple overlapping restrictions which can't simply be put into a single time slot. Even if this design incorporated every single day and different times depending on different criteria, it would have to be humongous to read all that detail without getting out and going up close.
The #3 reason is ambiguity.
Si no hablas ingles, 或者你住在一个历史的民族地区，તમે નિયમો કયા છે ઈન્ટરપ્રીટ થોડી મદદ જરૂર પડી શકે છે. The various colors, bolded words, and arrows help give insight as to what each sign is intending to tell you, without necessarily needing to be a native speaker. Other countries tend to use more pictograms on their signs which certainly help in these cases.
I think the redesigned sign is very useful, but one single sign is just not going to replace the accessibility and functionality of several large simple signs. Less signs is definitely better, though.
Edited out snark.
Denver recently decided that, since the fine for parking in a tow-away zone is twice that of parking in a street-sweeping zone, and since one can be towed in order to enable street sweeping, then parking in a street-sweeping zone is really parking in a tow-away zone, and doubled the fine.
I'm pretty sure that while the parking rules are there to make sense and regulate the commons, their implementation is based on revenue maximisation.
And in Wilmington, DE, you can park for free on holidays, but the city celebrates Vetrans' day in October instead of November.
Revenue shortfall? Raise our taxes or fix your budget, just stop profiting from misleading confusion.
It's more clear on the designers blog: http://toparkornottopark.com/tagged/evolution
It's actually more than that unless you meant just the USA, not both north and south america.
If GP meant "North and South America", he would have said "the Americas" instead. I understand this is different in other languages which I imagine must be confusing and arrogant-seeming for those with English as a second language.
Similarly, the allowed parking duration is far too small. Even if it's green all day, you still need to know if it's 30 minutes or 4 hours or whatever.
For example, the free sections look too much like the 1 hr sections (e.g. glance at the right-most sign in this blurry shot: http://pix-media.s3.amazonaws.com/blog/883/process.png ). How long did it take you to distinguish them?
"Can I park on this street right now? (and until when)"
Why should people require a smartphone to figure out whether they can park on a street or not?
My solution: KISS! European countries show that it's totally feasible to make easy-to-understand parking signs, in 2015, without any Silicon Valley tech at all.
Just something small and useful that would be convenient for users from my perspective. I received a ticket in San Diego a couple month's ago because I didn't walk down half a block to see a sign that mentioned street cleaning on certain days.
I really wish there was some sort of public works API where you could pull sign data, traffic lights data, etc. Seems like there could be some very interesting applications developed from that.
CSV and shapefiles can be found here:
Using OSM brings all the problems of redundant effort and crowd sourcing in, but it solves the 'in one place' part of the problem.
There's also the issue that OSM focuses on the geo side of the data, so it is usually pretty awkward to encode complex data (like multiple parking regulations or traffic signal plans)
They might be slightly more expensive, but you could just install them on the curbs where there is more than one rule.
I need to know how much it will cost to park there, and how long I can stay in that spot. Do the rules change if I have a resident parking permit? etc.
The image of a totem pole containing a list of signs is a tangible day-to-day example that should evoke fear of unexpected fines ahead.
The issue is zero-tolerance. It expands beyond simply parking. The lack of discretion that computerised solutions seem to beget. The incentive structure that means parking wardens feel inclined to ticket for being 10cm over a bay.
Let's assume that the app exists and has a good database. Parking rules and regs change on a regular basis in the context of a city, typically both tickets and drivers utilise the same signage to determine if an offense has occurred. So for all intents and purposes the signs are the decider of if a ticket is issued.
So when a driver arrives, they load the app, they'll still have to check the signs to make sure the rules haven't changed. And in the time it took to load the app and have it figure out your location (and you'll likely have to enter side of the street due to GPS limitations) you may have well just read the signs.
And when the app is wrong (as it rarely will be) then the driver has no excuse. Saying "an app told me I could part!!!" will be laughed at, and the app creator will likely need legal protection as they will get sued even if the app is free. Lawsuits that you win are still expensive.
This is a tradeoff, not an all-around win.
Plus producing identically sized signs has economies of scale that variable sized ones likely won't counteract.
Representing time with colored spaces decreases information density. Green & red blocks aren't enough -- the primary data, the numbers, are still required labels, and are made smaller to accommodate the new elements.
Shrinking the primary data decreases visibility, so you, with decent eyesight, need to be closer. My grandmother will have an even harder time resolving it.
Visibility hasn't been addressed, but deserves to be in any conversation about signage.
That said, the signs are an improvement and are pretty nice. It's a bit harder to deal with issues like school days - maybe there needs to be a number or web site on the sign that you can use to check school days?
> Cities could make it easier for them, and improve parking compliance, just by making the parking signs clearer.
The signs are confusing on purpose. Parking tickets are a huge source of revenue in most cities. Improving parking compliance is not the goal in most places. The goal is to maximize revenue from fines.
Any assessment of the design merits of the signs must at least be aware of the actual context of the design they're evaluating. The signs are very well designed in the context of their actual goal -- to confuse people and generate more income for the city.
Note that I am not endorsing this practice, just pointing it out. That's simply the way it actually is in most cities, irrespective of anyone's particular moral evaluation of whether it ought to be that way.
If you think it's wrong that this happens, the first step towards fixing it is acknowledging that it's happening, rather than ascribing the confusing signs to simple ignorance of good graphic design practices.
The author also attacks the little sign at the top. People like to know why things are the way they are. That little sign (I can't read it exactly) helps citizens understand why the parking restrictions are present, and helps.
She also seems not to understand the difference between "No Stopping" and "No Parking", which is pretty clear to me.
I don't see any system in her solution for handling permit parking.
Finally, her proposed solution would require a much more detailed (and expensive) master parking system. Cities don't have the resources to maintain those, and they would incur huge costs if a city-wide parking rule was necessitated. (For example, if street sweeping is changed with the current system, they only need to replace one or two signs per block. Under her system, every parking sign in the city would need to be changed)
As for complaining that this misunderstands local government: that's the point, it's user-centric design. Parking signs should not be a catalog of the internal departmental divisions in city hall, they should clearly communicate to street users the way in which the street is permitted to be used. It's like complaining about the design of the iPhone on the basis that it completely failed to reflect the reality of how cellphone carriers operate. Yes, yes it did. That was the point.
I also don't buy your cost argument. In all my life, looking at thousands of city blocks where I live, I've never seen parking rules change unless the street is being torn up and rebuilt and all the signs are being changed anyway.
There are three classifications of restrictions that are commonly applied to limit roadside stops:
No stopping - Most restrictive; can't do anything
No standing - Brief stops are permitted
No parking - Standing in an occupied vehicle is permitted
Everyone would know this if licensing requirements in the US weren't a joke.