L.A. Now

Confused about parking restrictions? Redesigned street signs may help

Redesigned parking signs will debut between 2nd and 9th streets, along Spring Street and Broadway

Squinting out a car window to decipher a stack of pole-bound parking signs is one of L.A.'s more annoying experiences. 

That could change starting this weekend, with the launch of a new sign aimed at making parking restrictions easier to understand. The chart-like sign features a series of green and red blocks that represent when parking is allowed, and when cars will be ticketed or towed.

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FOR THE RECORD:

Parking signs: In the April 7 California section, an article about new parking enforcement signs attributed the term "meter maids" to a city of Los Angeles engineer. The term, referring to city parking enforcement officers, was a paraphrase, not a direct quote. —
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Finding a parking space is "one of the most frustrating things we all experience, and I think most Angelenos are convinced that the city is out to get them," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday at a downtown news conference. 

"In the past, quite often, it seems like we've designed a more and more difficult system." 

Garcetti said he hoped the retooled signs would reduce the number of parking tickets given out to confused motorists. He added that the new design also should ease the parking process for downtown visitors whose first language is not English. 

About 100 redesigned signs will be installed between 2nd and 9th streets along Spring Street and Broadway in the Central City. The existing parking signs will be left up during the test period. 

After six months, transportation officials will seek approval from state regulators to remove the old signs and expand use of the new design. Officials will report on public feedback and analyze whether meter maids hand out fewer parking tickets in the area during the test period, senior transportation engineer Ken Husting said.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who chairs the city's finance and budget committee, said the signs would have to be "insanely successful" at reducing tickets for the city to see an impact on parking citation revenue, which has grown from $110 million in 2003 to about $161 million last year.

Transportation officials haven't decided whether the signs would be phased in or installed all at once, Husting said. 

Bluetooth beacons, tiny digital devices that share location-specific information with smartphones, will be installed on the back of the signs. The city has not developed an app that will work with the beacons, Garcetti said, but plans to put out an "open call" for developers to create one. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently installed similar devices at Union Station.

For more Los Angeles transportation news, follow @laura_nelson on Twitter.

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