Savvy street signs answer the most important questions: ‘Can I park here?’ and ‘For how long?’
It’s happened to all of us. You cruised the block reading parking signs, and finally scoped out a parking space you were allowed to park in. A few hours later, when you return, you find a ticket, revealing that you misinterpreted the sign, and was not in fact allowed to park there. Annoyed, you wonder why parking signs are not more clear. This happened to freelance designer Nikki Sylianteng on more than several occasions. Wanting to save herself some misery, she decided to redesign New York City’s confusing street parking signs.
New York City’s street signs are text based. They try to cram as many words onto the signs as possible, making them completely incomprehensible, but so far they’ve failed. Last year, when the city commissioned a redesign, Sylianteng worked out what she believes is a more successful graphics-based sign. Her signs quickly answer the questions ‘Can I park here?’ and ‘For how long,’ using blocks to conveniently visualize the information.
Similar to a Google calendar, Sylianteng’s design has the time on the y-axis and the date on the x-axis. It uses green bars for times you can park and red bars for times you cannot. Drivers need only match the current date and time to the ones posted on the sign to find out if they are allowed to park or not.
Sylianteng’s signs leave out some information, like rules for commercial drivers and the segment of curb on either side of the sign. While those are things she intends to fix, she has also been incorporating elements and symbols for color-blind drivers, hosting a survey on her website, To Park Or Not To Park, to collect some data. In the mean time, she has been busy posting these redesigned signs near existing street signs all around the city. Sylianteng hopies to stir up some interest, and help people avoid accumulating any additional tickets.