Southern Brooklyn

The Commute: New Parking Signs Are Not Making Regulations Understandable; More About Vision Zero

All images courtesy of Allan Rosen
All images courtesy of Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: It was with much fanfare, just over a year ago, that the city unveiled its new parking regulatory signs. However, at least in this area, they have barely made an impact thus far because the older signs are only being replaced as they wear out or fall off. The new signs, in their utilization of more white space, are supposed to give the impression of less clutter. In order to accomplish this, the font size has been reduced, making the signs less visible from a distance.

I like the idea of more white space, but not the smaller fonts, the elongated arrows, the spelling out of the days of the week, or the elimination of the indent in the “No Standing” sign. I also do not like the change to lower case for AM and PM and the lack of a space after the number. I think “7 AM” in caps is clearer than “7am.”

So, combined with having to walk a half block or more to and from the Muni Meter, motorists are certainly getting more exercise having to walk right up to the new signage to read it. That is good for some and an inconvenience to others, especially in bad weather.

The images above show the old signage on the left, a combination of old and new signage in the center and my proposed signage on the right. Were motorists actually confused with abbreviating the days of the week? I don’t think so. Why now spell them out? What is confusing, however, is the overlapping time restrictions. Nothing was done about that, at least not on this sign on Brighton Beach Avenue. Let us hope that the Department of Transportation (DOT) eventually changes the language when the conversion is complete, whenever that happens, or will they leave it just as confusing? Only time will tell.

Replacing only one sign without changing the language, and mixing the two types of signage, does nothing to aid clarity. I believe my proposed signage eliminating the overlapping time restrictions and keeping AM and PM in upper case is clearer, and my fee would have been less than what the consultants were paid.

Having seen the new format for “Taxi Stand,” I am wondering if omitting the crucial information, “No Standing,” in the name of simplicity, will actually make the signage even more confusing. You were previously allowed to stop in a Taxi Zone to expeditiously drop someone off. Now you do not know if that is still allowed.

Will “No Standing” also be eliminated from bus stop signs as well? And if so, what about bus stop signs that are only in effect part time? The DOT already announced that the new signage would no longer point you to where the Muni Meters are, which will make it more difficult to locate Muni Meters.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The before and after pictures looked great in the press release. One year later, seeing how DOT is implementing the signage in southern Brooklyn, I am less than impressed.

More About Vision Zero

Several weeks ago, the New York City Council passed 11 bills to further the Vision Zero effort. From the NY Daily News:

“The bills make it a crime to hit a pedestrian or bicyclist who has the right of way, and allow the city to immediately suspend the license of a cab driver who injures or kills someone while committing a traffic violation.”

Difficult to believe this has not been the law until now. Also:

“The legislation will require the city to create seven ‘slow zones’ with 20 mile per hour speed limits each this year and next. It will ban stunts like wheelies and donuts by drivers, and require the city to fix or replace broken traffic signals within 24 hours after they’re reported.”

I never realized that it took the city longer than that to replace broken signals.

In addition to the bill to yank the license of a cabbie who injures or kills someone, the Council also passed six resolutions pushing the state to increase penalties for reckless driving, driving on the sidewalk, and leaving the scene of an accident, and to let the City Control its own speed and red light camera programs.

I have already expressed my opinions regarding speed and red light cameras in my discussion of Vision Zero.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.