NEW YORK—Parking in midtown Manhattan will be smoother after 6,300 old signs are replaced with new, easier to read signs.
“They were making drivers crazy,” Councilman Dan Garodnick said of the old signs. “People actually think that the city is deliberately trying to confuse them in order to give them more tickets, and that perception alone is a problem.”
“We never want to play ‘gotcha’ with New York City drivers,” he added.
Larger signs with less words and colors are some of the features of the new signs. Wordage will be cut from about 250 words to 140.
Garodnick unveiled the change on Monday with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the city’s Department of Transportation.
Quinn said the new change will save drivers money by resulting in less parking tickets.
“How many of us have gone back to our cars, and seen that dreaded parking ticket in the window and thought, ‘Wait a minute, the sign said I could park here!’” she said.
It’s hard to tell if less parking tickets will be given out, resulting in less revenue, said Sadik-Khan, but it’s less a matter of a tremendous amount of tickets and more “a tremendous amount of frustration.”
The signs haven’t been changed for decades, she said.
A few hundred have already been replaced and the remaining 6,000 or so will be changed through the spring. The new signs will be located from 14th Street to 60th Street south, and from Second Avenue to Ninth Avenue. The move will cost the city $180,000.
Other commercial corridors where the signs are most confusing, such as the Financial District and the Upper East and West Sides, would be next, Sadik-Khan said.
“The problem was in the commercial areas, where you literally had four signs,” she said. There is not the same level of confusion in other areas because there are less rules.
Drivers using a muni parking meter on 55th Street were not convinced the new signs were needed.
“It’s a waste of money,” said Brian Bischoff, 34, who drives in Manhattan everyday.
Instead of changing the signs the city should upgrade all the old muni-meters, he said. He had just inserted his credit card for the sixth time but it wasn’t working.
Bischoff noticed the difference between the old and new signs, but having lived in New York his whole life, he already understood the signs. It might make a difference for tourists or people new to the area, he suggested.
Chris Gasparic, 55, also drives in Manhattan every day. He works for a refrigeration company based in Westchester.
Gasparic said there is less clutter on the new signs and he liked how they are bigger. “It’s more readable,” he said.
Councilman Garodnick introduced legislation in December 2011 that would have required the city’s Department of Transportation to create a task force to “review the clarity of parking signs.”
Officials decided to move ahead with the project and make the changes without the legislation passing, said Quinn.