It's about to get a lot easier to avoid parking tickets in midtown Manhattan.
The city's transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, unveiled a redesigned parking sign for use in midtown that she said would be easier for drivers to notice and should reduce parking tickets throughout the city's busiest area.
The initial rollout will replace 6,300 signs, and 450 new ones were installed Monday. The new signs have just two colors, are kept to 152 characters and have a different typeface. The previous signs were three colors, taller and had about 250 characters. The redesign also lists the days of the week before the hours of enforcement.
Installing the new signs will cost about $180,000.
"Anyone who has ever pulled into a midtown parking space knows how frustrating it can be," Sadik-Khan said. "The signs were a cross between an Excel spreadsheet and a totem pole. You shouldn't need a Ph.D in transportation to decipher the signs."
Expect to see the signs from about 60th Street to 14th Street and from Second Avenue to Ninth Avenue. After the midtown rollout, signs will be added in parts of the Upper East Side, lower Manhattan and the Financial District.
City Council member Daniel Garodnick introduced legislation to have more clarity with the signs. But the DOT and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stepped in to help streamline the process.
"People would come up to me, not realizing I was a City Council member, and ask if they could park in certain parts of midtown," Garodnick said. "And sometimes I honestly didn't know what to tell them.
"People think the city is purposely trying confuse them and give out more parking tickets," he said. "That's just not the case. We don't want to play gotcha with New York drivers."
With the entire city as a tow-away zone, AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair Jr. said it's important for drivers to know the rules and be able to understand them clearly.
"The signs are much clearer and simpler looking, compared to the old ones," Sinclair said.
Drivers in the midtown area said the signs are simpler to read but still don't offer a crystal-clear explanation of where and when to park.
"I got towed the other day," said Raymond Martinez of Queens, despite being parked in a spot he believed to be legal.
"Even for them, it's complicated," he said of ticket writers. "I like these new ones."