Los Angeles Just Solved the Street Parking Sign

Least. Confusing. Parking sign. Ever.

For a city so reliant on cars, Los Angeles sure hasn't had much success with street parking signs. Its infamous "totem" sign poles—parking regulation stacked atop parking regulation—have been known to climb as high as 15 feet. Grab your stilts and take a gander at this recent beauty from Culver City (via Curbed LA):

No more. On Friday, the city unveiled new "easy-to-read" parking signs that are actually easy to read. The "grid-style" signs rely on color coding and graphic representations rather than words—a perfect fit for the age of emoticons. So long as drivers know the time and the day of the week, and that green is good and red is bad, it's hard to see them getting confused by these design gems:

LA Mayor's Office

And here's one already in action:

Trying to interpret the new parking sign out front. #dtla #lockedout

A photo posted by Sacha Baumann (@sacha_baumann) on

Officials will place the new signs alongside existing ones during a six-month trial downtown, though it's hard to see them not eventually making their way across the whole city. In addition to clarity, the signs feature Bluetooth beacons capable of transmitting parking (or other) information to a driver's smartphone. The city says the beacons could ultimately be paired with apps that offer payment options or "neighborhood event notifications."

Alissa Walker at Gizmodo writes that the new signs were inspired by the designs of Nikki Sylianteng, who herself was inspired by a $95 parking ticket she received in Los Angeles. Sylianteng created similar grid-style prototypes that debuted in New York City last summer. Priceonomics offered some additional background on Sylianteng's work in a nice profile from January:

Sylianteng first tried to redesign parking signs when she was living in LA and applying to grad school, in a project she called “To Park or Not to Park.” She reduced the usual jumble of signs and regulations to a single, holistic panel, which looked a lot like a Google Calendar – it was a grid of days of the week, broken into hours. The blocks of time when a parking spot was valid she shaded green, the blocks of time it was invalid she shaded red. She also simplified the rules she illustrated, working off the principle that people would much rather adhere to an overly restrictive regulation than get a parking ticket.

At her blog—To Park Or Not To ParkSylianteng explains that cities everywhere are free to use and adapt her designs because the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices prohibits patents on parking signs. The rules, it seems, are pretty clear.

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