Parking signs 12.11.14

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Few things make a New Yorker's blood boil more than a ticket on the windshield. Is it time for parking rules to be displayed in a calmer, clearer, perhaps even more charming manner?

Patience and backbone, in preferably equal measures, are essential to navigating any major city. In New York City (home to over 8 million), we are reminded of this each time we take to the sidewalk, bus, subway, taxi, train, ferry, bike or car.

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The words "Hour Metered Parking" are also replaced with icons

So it didn't take us long to come up with an abundance of transport-related items in need of a rethink. In the end we settled on a design issue that we thought the majority of urban dwellers around the world can relate to – parking signs. Most New Yorkers would agree that the parking vernacular here lacks clarity and charm. As a result, critical information — such as when and where to park your car — are communicated in a manner that feels cold and ambiguous, often leaving drivers scratching their heads in confusion.

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Parking sign by the road

Our objective was not necessarily to solve the issue, but to begin a discussion about what a better system could be. In our nascent attempt to remedy the signs, we introduced a rounder, friendlier and more contemporary typeface. We brightened the green to soften and lift the overall tone. We also developed a set of icons to minimise congested and confusing language and cut down on jargon. Hopefully, this will allow drivers to grasp the what, where, when and why of parking as quickly as possible.

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Icons are used to differentiate commercial and regular vehicles

We also thought that a free smartphone app called ok2park would be a nice gesture from the powers-that-be at nyc.gov. Once activated, the app determines the date, time and driver's location to tell you at once if you can park there, and for how long. It also allows the driver to pay for their parking on the spot with their smartphone. Once this step is complete, the app starts a timer to remind the driver when to come back to their car, so they can avoid returning to a bright orange envelope.

Perhaps in the years to come new signs will begin to pop up and both native New Yorkers and also the 52 million yearly visitors will encounter a gentler parking experience. We certainly hope so.

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The ok2park smartphone app

 

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Most New Yorkers would agree that the parking vernacular here lacks clarity and charm

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