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Today’s post if brought to you by NY resident Sohan Kota who emailed me about tow-away zones and how she finds them useful. Just as a refresher, it’s details like these that I’ve so far intentionally eliminated because I believe it takes us down a slippery slope to the signs we have today. 

Hi there,
Just a couple of thoughts - have you considered a dollar sign next to the (P) or 1 HR markings?  Might be a little clear for people new to cities, who may not know that the 1 HR parking means 1 HR metered parking.  And secondly, as someone who has been parking in NYC for a decades and has had to deal with the epic cluster that is the NYC tow yard, personally I think the tow-away marking is a necessity.  In the tow-away zones on 10th ave. on the upper west side, where they clear the parking from 4-7pm to add a lane of traffic, a group of tow trucks come through at no later than 4:01pm every weekday to clear away any cars, and it will cost you some $200 to $300 and several hours of your time.  I do not risk leaving my car for even a couple of minutes over, whereas in a normal parking zone I may be willing to risk leaving my car ten minutes too long.
But of course these things may detract from the beautiful simplicity of your signs!  Just a thought.  Best of luck and keep up the good work.
Sohan

My response:

It is comments like these that I seek out. One of the reasons I am doing this publicly is because I am lazy. I could have tried to research the hell out of this topic but opted to go about things in such a way that the research could come to me or be “crowd-sourced”. My thinking is that it’s impossible for me to know each and every situation with regard to parking signs, so I will publicly assume my experience is everyone else’s unless I’m told otherwise. It’s been working quite well so far.
That said, this is exactly the type of behavior/thinking I wondered existed. Thank you - I will definitely keep this in mind.
Nikki

Today’s post if brought to you by NY resident Sohan Kota who emailed me about tow-away zones and how she finds them useful. Just as a refresher, it’s details like these that I’ve so far intentionally eliminated because I believe it takes us down a slippery slope to the signs we have today. 

Hi there,

Just a couple of thoughts - have you considered a dollar sign next to the (P) or 1 HR markings?  Might be a little clear for people new to cities, who may not know that the 1 HR parking means 1 HR metered parking.  And secondly, as someone who has been parking in NYC for a decades and has had to deal with the epic cluster that is the NYC tow yard, personally I think the tow-away marking is a necessity.  In the tow-away zones on 10th ave. on the upper west side, where they clear the parking from 4-7pm to add a lane of traffic, a group of tow trucks come through at no later than 4:01pm every weekday to clear away any cars, and it will cost you some $200 to $300 and several hours of your time.  I do not risk leaving my car for even a couple of minutes over, whereas in a normal parking zone I may be willing to risk leaving my car ten minutes too long.

But of course these things may detract from the beautiful simplicity of your signs!  Just a thought.  Best of luck and keep up the good work.

Sohan


My response:

It is comments like these that I seek out. One of the reasons I am doing this publicly is because I am lazy. I could have tried to research the hell out of this topic but opted to go about things in such a way that the research could come to me or be “crowd-sourced”. My thinking is that it’s impossible for me to know each and every situation with regard to parking signs, so I will publicly assume my experience is everyone else’s unless I’m told otherwise. It’s been working quite well so far.

That said, this is exactly the type of behavior/thinking I wondered existed. Thank you - I will definitely keep this in mind.

Nikki

An email I received from Mike Rice earlier this year regarding the game Set:
Hi Nikki,
Switching to my keyboard now for some better explanation. The wider lines thing is something I learned while playing the card game Set. Unfortunately, Set uses red, green, and blue colors for various symbols. Sometimes the symbols are solid, sometimes hatched, and sometimes just an outline. (See here: http://www.setgame.com/sites/default/files/styles/uc_product_full/public/SET-layout.png?itok=ESmUSnZ5) What I found was that I could easily distinguish between the solid shapes, but not so easily between those that were only an outline. The ones with hatching were somewhat in between the two - better than an outline, but not as good as solid. What I’ve found is that having a larger contiguous sample of the color improves my ability to see it. Playing in bright lighting improved the situation for me, but dim lighting, glare off the cards, and angles far from perpendicular made it worse. 
Given that your online samples are scaled down, the hatching on the actual signs is probably wider than it appears in the samples, and would be better for my perception. My thought was that having wider hatching (even if the white/red stripes are still equal widths) gives me a better chance of seeing red.
HTH,Mike

An email I received from Mike Rice earlier this year regarding the game Set:

Hi Nikki,

Switching to my keyboard now for some better explanation. The wider lines thing is something I learned while playing the card game Set. Unfortunately, Set uses red, green, and blue colors for various symbols. Sometimes the symbols are solid, sometimes hatched, and sometimes just an outline. (See here: http://www.setgame.com/sites/default/files/styles/uc_product_full/public/SET-layout.png?itok=ESmUSnZ5) What I found was that I could easily distinguish between the solid shapes, but not so easily between those that were only an outline. The ones with hatching were somewhat in between the two - better than an outline, but not as good as solid. What I’ve found is that having a larger contiguous sample of the color improves my ability to see it. Playing in bright lighting improved the situation for me, but dim lighting, glare off the cards, and angles far from perpendicular made it worse. 

Given that your online samples are scaled down, the hatching on the actual signs is probably wider than it appears in the samples, and would be better for my perception. My thought was that having wider hatching (even if the white/red stripes are still equal widths) gives me a better chance of seeing red.

HTH,
Mike

An old email I received earlier this year from Nathaniel Borenstein who is colorblind."If you’re really concerned about colors, BTW, you might consider cross-hatching or some other non-color marking along with the color coding.  The first version of the game “Extinction” was impossible for me to play because the board was color coded.  In the next version, they kept the colors but added cross-hatching and it was fine for me.  I can’t find a great image (the game is long out of print) but the pictures below should give you the idea."  — Nathaniel

An old email I received earlier this year from Nathaniel Borenstein who is colorblind.

"If you’re really concerned about colors, BTW, you might consider cross-hatching or some other non-color marking along with the color coding.  The first version of the game “Extinction” was impossible for me to play because the board was color coded.  In the next version, they kept the colors but added cross-hatching and it was fine for me.  I can’t find a great image (the game is long out of print) but the pictures below should give you the idea." — Nathaniel

Today’s post is brought to you by Jenika Cuadra from Los Angeles who submitted this parking sign right by her gym. Jenika: Took me at least 2 minutes to figure out if it was ok to park here.Me: Hm…does this mean you can park here for free between 6pm and 10pm?Jenika: I don’t know WHAT it means, that’s the problem! But, yes, it seems as though that’s what it’s indicating. It’s free all the time, no meters, but for the day hours you can only be there for an hour.

@toparknottopark If this is a parking meter zone, no other restrictions : Yes, the meter is NOT enforced 6AM-8AM, 6PM-10PM.
— LADOT (@MobilityMaven)
July 7, 2014
I’ll be sending a new sign kit for Jenika to post below this one.

Today’s post is brought to you by Jenika Cuadra from Los Angeles who submitted this parking sign right by her gym.

Jenika: Took me at least 2 minutes to figure out if it was ok to park here.
Me: Hm…does this mean you can park here for free between 6pm and 10pm?
Jenika: I don’t know WHAT it means, that’s the problem! But, yes, it seems as though that’s what it’s indicating. It’s free all the time, no meters, but for the day hours you can only be there for an hour.

I’ll be sending a new sign kit for Jenika to post below this one.

edlyn asked:

What discoveries have surprised you the most?

I had a meeting the other day with a parking sign manufacturer and they said that my signs are so far the most exhaustively researched. That was a big surprise to me. Apparently, although road sign typefaces are tested in terms of readability at certain speeds and distances, they are not tested for usability.

Alternate design for timed parking

Rather than having the P symbol followed by the time maybe you could use something like this NSW style by having ‘2P’ for 2 hours parking: 

Also how will you show free / meter / ticket?

Finally, parking signs are not just an issue in LA, here is one from my home town Sydney: http://www.2gb.com/sites/default/files/field/image/20140124/confusing_signs.jpg


There is definitely still room for improvement. I’ve been thinking about how to visually differentiate free parking from paid parking while being mindful of costs (I learned that adding a color will easily double the price of a sign).

A question for you: What does NSW mean? Is this notation used in Sydney?