Call to overhaul parking signs

Published in the Herald Sun:

By Tiffany Korssen and Aleczander Gamboa

VICTORIAN motorists are being driven crazy by confusing and cluttered parking signs.

Drivers are often being left baffled by complicated signs filled with myriad time zones and parking limits.

And overseas tourists are especially bamboozled by ridiculous parking signs that are clear as mud, says the RACV.

A Sunday Herald Sun investigation found countless examples of confusing parking signs across Melbourne’s suburbs.

Victorian councils have been urged to follow the example of one Sydney council, which wants to replace its signs with a colour-blocked model.

It has been two years since New York City cleaned up its parking signs, replacing what its transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan called “a cross between an Excel spreadsheet and a totem pole”.


But the signs favoured by Sydney’s Mosman Council, which are the brainchild of New York designer Nikki Sylianteng, are more simple.

Red blocks of colour would indicate restricted periods, with green for non-restricted times.

RACV public policy general manager Brian Negus called for a trial of a new colour block system in Victoria.

“In many inner-city areas, parking restrictions can be very complicated and the signs can be a cause of confusion for the motoring community,” he said.

“RACV has received numerous complaints from people who have been confused by complicated parking signs and been booked as a result.”

Moreland mayor Meghan Hopper, whose municipality takes in busy Sydney Rd, said it was worth investigating if signs could be made clearer.

But the challenge of including information for all road users, such as clearways for cyclists, was a challenge, she said.

“I think the confusion would come from having to fit so many parking conditions in such a small sign but I wouldn’t say that our signs would be any more confusing than any other main thoroughfare,’’ she said.

“I would certainly look at considering the new colour-coded parking sign system and consider it as an option but I’d need to look into it in more depth before I could make a final call.”

A confusing parking sign in Swanston St. Picture: Brendan Francis

A confusing parking sign in Swanston St. Picture: Brendan Francis

Stonnington mayor Melina Sehr said the council was happy to try anything that made it easier for the public, but it would have to conform to Australian standards.

Motorists told the Sunday Herald Sun many parking signs were too hard to understand.

“I had to actually learn how to read these signs because they’re so difficult,’’ St Kilda’s Daniela Simic said.

Melinda Bisignano, trying to get her head around a sign on Chapel St, also backed change.

“I don’t even know what this sign says. I think it could be less confusing,’’ she said.

There was widespread support for the colour-blocked model.

“I feel like people relate better to visuals. It’s a really simple system and it’s easier to see, read and understand,’’ said Phoebe Dennis, of Brunswick.

A parking sign in Sydney Rd, Brunswick. Picture: Brendan Francis

A parking sign in Sydney Rd, Brunswick. Picture: Brendan Francis

Windsor’s Simon Agliati, 29, said: “It would make it much easier. As a motorist, all you want to know is if you can park here or not, that’s all we really care about. We don’t need to know all the little fine print details, it makes it too confusing.”

City of Melbourne said in a statement its parking signs complied with Australian standards and road rules.

“A change to parking signage such as colour blocking is not a decision that could be made by the City of Melbourne, as changes to parking signs sit with VicRoads as the state road authority,’’ it said.

Yarra Council said it aimed to ensure signs were straightforward and it was happy to review any signs motorists found confusing.

Mosman Council’s bid for easy-to-read parking signs is to be put to Roads and Maritime Services for consideration across the state after Local Government NSW approved the plan.

Mosman mayor Peter Abelson said his council was willing to trial the new concept.

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

“This proposal uses an elegant visual display which would reduce confusion for motorists as well as visual clutter and is a more pleasant design than the current melange found in many metropolitan areas.”


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