Downtown parking signs cause confusion

May 15, 2013 4:33:29 PM PDT
Have you ever driven downtown and found yourself completely confused as to where you can and cannot park? The city is finally about to do something about it.

Plenty of signs tell you where to park, how to park, when to park -- but making sense of it all is another matter. But the city has finally recognized what many of you knew. More isn't better, it's often just confusing.

"I always feel like where do Ii get to park, where is it safe for me to park. Every time i park my car, I'm always worried I'm going to get towed, or a ticket," said driver Carlos Aguiar.

Everyone has a story.

Driver Kathy Cilurso said, "I have read the signs like OK, is this the right time? Is this not the correct time? I'm not too close to the corner?"

The Downtown District realized the problem a year ago and decided to categorize every parking-related sign in downtown. The results were astonishing.

"We ended up coming up with more than 100 signs, different unique parking signs, which is crazy," said Angie Bertinot with the Downtown District. "Most cities have a family of 15 or 20 signs, and we have more than 100 signs."

Armed with the information, the district approached the mayor, who supported simplifying the signs. On Wednesday the city council voted to spend $1.3 million over the next year in order to make it happen.

"The goal is to have people comfortable coming downtown, knowing where they can park and not having a nasty surprise with their car being towed," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Hopefully confusing mixes of signs will soon be history.

"This is a crazy sign. We want this to go away," Bertinot said. "There should be, on a future sign, in a year from now, one or two signs max on this sign pole (instead of the current six.)"

There are about 6,000 signs throughout downtown relating to parking. The city will have to remove all the signs and come up with a number about one-fifth of that, that are clear and concise and easy to understand. It's a big job for the coming year.

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