New York City’s parking signs get a facelift

February 7, 2014

New York’s parking signage can involve a confusing tangle of Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots, not to mention the perpetually confusing alternate-side parking rules. That may be the case, but at least one designer believes the new signs could be further improved. Nikki Sylianteng, a Brooklyn-based independent designer, has come up with another redesign that uses fewer words to communicate with drivers, instead relying on a timechart-like visual language to convey its information.

the redesigned NYC parking sign

Nikki Sylianteng’s suggested (and, we might add, very attractive) resdesigns of the classic NYC parking sign. From

Sylianteng was moved to create the redesign after receiving one too many parking tickets because of poor signage. “It shouldn’t have to be this complicated,” she wrote on her blog. All anyone really wants to know from a parking sign, Sylianteng says, is “Can I park here now?” and “Until what time?”

She’s taken her attempt to answer those questions to the street—literally. Going rogue, the designer has been taping versions of her redesign to official parking signs around the city and asking drivers and pedestrians to let her know what they think of it. Respondents can provide their comments directly on Sylianteng’s guerrilla-hung signs or email her at [email protected] with their thoughts.

Those who wish to find out more about Sylianteng’s efforts are invited to visit the project’s site or to sign up for updates.

Last year, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who has since been replaced by Polly Trottenberg under Mayor Bill de Blasio, announced the rollout of new parking signs for the city of New York.

The change marked a milestone for the city, which has made few revisions to the existing signs since Mayor John Lindsay remarked in 1967, “Some of the signs are so bad that a motorist could be ticketed while stopping his car to try to figure them out.”

New York City parking signs

A before-and-after of New York’s parking signs, from

The old signs, which are five feet high and rely on a three-color design, use multiple fonts, font sizes, and all capital letters, which studies have shown are harder to read. The new versions measure four feet tall and display a two-color design, as well as a federally mandated font called Clearview that the city began using in 2010 to replace signs that were in all uppercase—250,900 in all.

“On the Internet, writing in all caps means you are shouting,” Sadik-Khan has said. “Our new signs can quiet down as well.”

The updated signs — which numbered 6,300 initially — were introduced first in midtown Manhattan and then to the Upper East Side, Lower Manhattan, and the Financial District. Installation for the first batch ran $180,000, but because the replacements are a foot shorter than the old signs, officials say that they’re cheaper to produce.


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Category: Parking Tech

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