A Well-Designed Parking Sign Can Make Life Much Easier Is it safe to park on the street, or are you risking a ticket? The more signs there are, the more confusing that question gets. Designer Nikki Sylianteng has found a way to help.

A Well-Designed Parking Sign Can Make Life Much Easier

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

To park or not to park - any urban dweller knows the feeling of pulling up, fingers crossed, looking at the sign, only to find it completely confusing.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

On some streets, you can only park on weekends.

CORNISH: Or only after 7pm.

BLOCK: Or not during rush-hour or school hours.

CORNISH: And definitely not every other Thursday. That's street cleaning.

BLOCK: You get the point. Enter someone with a new idea.

NIKKI SYLIANTENG: Hi, I'm Nikki Sylianteng, and I run a guerrilla parking sign redesign project called To Park or Not to Park.

BLOCK: Her idea - combine all of the signs on a street into one easy to read graphic - a sort of parking calendar.

SYLIANTENG: My new design looks like a Google calendar. Along the top is the days of the week - going down, times of the day, with red and green blocks of time marking when you can and can't park.

CORNISH: Sylianteng is a freelance designer who has spent many years parking in LA and paying the price for it.

SYLIANTENG: I received a couple tickets, I think, like any driver in LA, from parking in places that I thought I could park at, but apparently couldn't.

CORNISH: So when she was applying to grad school and needed a new design project, she decided to conduct a little experiment outside her apartment.

BLOCK: She printed out a prototype of that calendar she just described, taped it next to the existing parking sign and asked people for feedback. The results were positive.

SYLIANTENG: One of the comments was great work. The mayor should hire you - something like that.

CORNISH: Sylianteng started posting more signs around her neighborhood, and the phones started ringing. Vancouver, LA and Boston have all asked her to help them pilot new ways of designing parking signs.

BLOCK: So her next project, with those red and green signs, may be navigating the red tape of city transportation policy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SIGNS")

FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND: (Singing) Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.

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