Last October, Andrea Hoagland drove up to Allentown, PA, parked her car, paid the meter and then met her friends. When she got back, 2 hours later, her car was gone. All that was left was a safety cone with a construction site where her car had been.
The Morning Call News interviewed Andrea as they played the video capturing the moment when the construction crew came and the tow truck took away her car. She had to pay a fine of $180 plus $10 for the parking ticket and all because the construction company, the city hired, didn’t put a ‘No Parking’ sign near their construction site.
Parking undeniably plays a major role in urban planning. In a Freakonomics podcast cheekily titled, “Parking is Hell,” parking fanatic and urban planning scholar, Donald Shoub discussed how “cruising” for parking spots affects the mobility, economy, and environment of urban cities. The lack of on-street parking space and signs are partly to blame for all the hopeful cruising drivers.
Lack of No Parking Signs
Something as basic as No Parking signs could’ve saved the driver a lot of time and money. Drivers have to be aware that even when parking meters are present, you never know if you are going to get a parking ticket. Confusing parking policies such as the case in downtown St. Louis is another example.
Last February, KMOV Channel 4 reported that drivers in St. Louis were getting frustrated at getting parking tickets despite the fact that they were feeding the meters for an hour of parking.
It turns out that businesses near these parking meters were paying the city $45 per month for the right to park at meters with red posts. The businesses were given red parking tags to indicate that they have permission to park in these red parking zones. Unfortunately, as with Andrea Hoagland’s case, the city failed to post signs with these specific parking restrictions.
Confusing Parking Signs
As bad as the cases in Allentown and St. Louis were, there’s probably no place worse for parking than in downtown Los Angeles. Take a look at their parking signs and see if you can figure them out. ‘Parking’ and ‘No Parking’ signs seem to contradict themselves as they are mounted on the same post one on top of the other.
There’s even a controversy that the city government deliberately wants drivers to get parking tickets as it is a major source of income for the city. A citizen movement called Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative is pushing to pass a ballot to stop the alleged abuse in parking tickets.
Parking Signs Redesigned
But there may be hope yet for LA motorists as one designer who’s had it with parking tickets is stepping up with a practical solution – a parking sign redesign.
In 2010, Nikki Sylianteng put her design background to good use by coming up with a simplified parking sign. She came up with the idea after getting a bunch of parking tickets in curb-sides with confusing parking signs. She abandoned the project for 2 years until the day she got a whooping $95 parking ticket.
This inspired her to continue her parking sign project and with the finished design, posted it on her website – toparkornottopark.com. Eventually, her design went viral and was picked up by news sites and magazines. The city council of Los Angeles finally heard about it and the design is now part of a proposal.
There are some drivers who would stick to their guns and contest parking tickets, many would grudgingly pay, but it’s heartening to know that there are a rare few who would look at the problem of parking in the eye and offer better and smarter solutions that will benefit everyone.
Annaliza Vasallo is a web content specialist who has written for various websites, covering a wide variety of topics such as quantitative option trading, channel marketing, e-learning, and workplace safety. She graduated from St. Paul University in Manila with a degree in Information Computer Science. She currently leads a team of editors and writers at Seton.com.