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To Alleviate Confusion, LA Officials Give Color-Coded Parking Signs A Try


And now to another American city, Los Angeles, where practically everyone has had a most irritating experience. You find one parking spot, but also maybe seven or eight signs telling you whether you can or cannot park there. Over the weekend, LA rolled out new parking signs that are supposed to be easier to understand. NPR's Sam Sanders has the story.

SARAH LITTLE: No stopping 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., except Saturday and Sunday. That makes sense. Next sign says two-hour parking Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Sarah Little is standing next to a parking spot in Downtown LA, reading the multiple parking signs for just one spot.

LITTLE: And there's the passenger loading zone from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., but the green one has areas pointing both ways.

SANDERS: A double arrow, a single arrow.

This could change soon. The city of LA is trying out a new system, one sign instead of several. At a press conference, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said it's much more straightforward.


MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: Look at what day it is, look at what time it is and with easy color coding and easy graphics, you should know whether or not you can be there.

SANDERS: The new signs are grids. Each day has a column. Hour by hour, it's color-coded, telling you when you can park. If it's green, you're good to go. If it's red, you can't park. If a day's column is black, it's a loading zone during that time. Sarah Little and I try to decipher one of the new grids.

LITTLE: Is one this way? This is Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday...

SANDERS: No, no, no. Wait.

LITTLE: ...And this side over here is different?

SANDERS: Oh, for these, yeah. See the arrows for - so different sections.

LITTLE: Oh, see, that would be confusing.

SANDERS: Some people I talked with said the signs have some promise, but Little was not impressed.

LITTLE: So, yeah, they're both just as confusing as each other.

SANDERS: So this is not better.


SANDERS: She says the best fix for parking signs in LA would be one simple button.

LITTLE: I would be able to come up here and, like, press a button. Can I park here and for how long? Even if it was like an app on your phone, like this little thing. Can I park here? Boop. Nope.

SANDERS: Well, LA hasn't signed on to that just yet, but the city's put up about a hundred of those new parking grids downtown for a six-month trial run. Sam Sanders, NPR News.

MONTAGNE: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.
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