In the quest to make parking suck less, there are apps that help you find a space, and meters where you can pay with a swipe of your credit card. But Los Angeles has launched a simple, low-tech solution to make parking better: well-designed signage that offers no ambiguity whatsoever when it comes to where you can park, when you can park there, and how much it will cost.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti installs the first sign last Friday. Picture: LA Mayors Office
A proposal by designer Nikki Sylianteng caught the eyes of incoming LADOT director Seleta Reynolds last year, who made it part of her mandate to redesign the city's signage. New York City got a redesign of its parking signs in 2013, but these are even clearer (and to be honest, LA's existing parking signage is much worse). About 100 signs will be installed as part of a pilot program in a 15-block area of downtown Los Angeles.
Here's a sample sign up close. What do you think?
The idea of truly "smarter" parking signs will eventually mean that we won't need them at anymore — your connected car will be able to tell you where it's ok to park; your autonomous shared vehicle won't need a parking spot at all. But this is a nice improvement. Plus these just look way cleaner on the street.
My one quibble is that there should be a third colour, that shows time-limited parking. It makes sense that red means 'no parking' and green means 'OK to park', but I'd want to see a distinction between unrestricted parking and two-hour parking, for example. Maybe a shade of yellow?
In addition, these signs have a tech upgrade as well. The new signage has Bluetooth beacons which can transmit data to nearby smartphones and connected vehicles. They eventually might automatically give you information about nearby community events — or be able to remind you that your parking meter is about to expire, if you didn't read the sign. [LAMayor.org]