New York’s guerrilla parking signs could hit Sydney streets


Driving around scouring the streets for a parking spot is practically a Sydney sport and  reading parking signs incorrectly has cost many a motorist a pretty penny but a New York freelance designer’s clearer parking signs may be about to change all that.

Nikki Sylianteng spent several years perfecting the design of her signs – which use red and green blocks and minimal words to illustrate when parking is allowed and not allowed – after getting repeatedly pinged with high parking fines in Los Angeles.

Ms Sylianteng stuck her parking signs from the project she has nicknamed To Park or Not to Park on lampposts around New York, leaving a space below for people to comment on whether the new signs were clear enough or asking them to leave feedback on her website.

The response so far has been positive, with one person saying that New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio should hire her immediately.

The designer said her strategy was to visualise the blocks of time when parking was allowed and not allowed and to represent it clearly.

“I kept everything else the same — the colours and the form factor — as my intention with this redesign is to show how big a difference a thoughtful, though conservative and low budget, approach can make in terms of time and stress saved for the driver,” she told Business Insider Australia.

Ms Sylianteng is currently working to perfect the design, including making the signs readable to colour-blind motorists – she uses hatching to indicate a red no parking time zone and a solid block for green – and how to indicate loading zones.

Some of the parking signs in the United States defy all logic. Take, for instance, the much-pilloried 15-foot parking sign in Culver City in Los Angeles. (Story continues after picture).


Mosman Council is so enamoured of the project that it has put forward a motion at next month’s NSW Local Government Conference to lobby Roads and Maritime Services to trial the new signs.

“Parking signs are often complicated and difficult to understand with multiple instructions for different parts of the day or week,” the council’s motion said.

“It is understood that this proposal represents a major change to the status quo, however this is something that could be explored and introduced on a staged basis over time across NSW.”

Mosman Council has been embroiled in its own parking battles in the past including trying to apprehend vandals pouring foam cement into Balmoral Beach parking meters and setting them alight.

Ziggy Zapata, from the Campaign Against Road Rip-offs, said he often got phone calls from motorists who had been slapped with a parking fine because they misread a sign or it was unclear.

He said that school zones in particular confused motorists when they could not remember if it was term-time or school holidays and signs around these should be clarified.

“What they need is signs with big bloody letters, about twice the size. They’ve got to put sings up that are clear and unambiguous,” Mr Zapata said.

But he did not think Ms Sylianteng’s new parking signs were much of an improvement on current NSW parking signs.

“I would say they should give them a test and see what the average motorist makes of it. If he can decipher what’s going on when he’s driving by it, that’s going to be the acid test.”

But he doubted the new signs would be welcomed by the State government and local councils.

“The government won’t implement anything that’s going to make it easier for motorists to avoid getting booked.”

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