At a press conference on the sidewalk at 1600 Congress Street in downtown Houston this September 10, Mayor Parker announced plans to simplify and clarify Houston's bewildering parking instruction signs with simpler, consistent messages.
According to a survey by the Downtown Management District in 2012, there are about 3200 signs in the downtown area, containing 108 different messages. “In addition to numerous and often times confusing signage, other issues such as meters, mobility lanes, commercial zones, and a a lack of effective communication hinder customer-friendly parking.
Bob Eury, executive director of the Downtown District (also known as “Mr. Downtown) also spoke at the conference. He stated that he had expericed all of the problems including tickets and towing. “Parking has always been a hot button for visitors as it is the first and last impression they have of downtown.”
About 20,000 – 30,000 people park in downtown Houston every day. Many have reported that they have received fines or their cars have been towed because they violated a time requirement or other rule that was not clear from the posted signs. “
“Making the parking experience as easy and customer-friendly as possible is thegoal. We hope to educate patrons that on-street parking is for short-term parking and ther are a variety of off-street options, garages and surface lots if you are planning a longer stay.”
In order to improve the parking experience for all, the city will
- Reduce sign types from 108 to 22, and eliminate “totem poles” with multiple signs
- Implement all Commercial Zones functioning 24/7 to prevent confusion.
- Implement consistent meter parking time limits to 3 hours' rates will be analyzed for high demand areas.
- Implement parking meter bag color coding” Red for no parking, blue if parking is available under special conditions.
- Reduce or eliminate mobility lanes where the Traffic Engineer determines it is feasible
- Implement a public relations campaign to educate the public on parking
Replacement of the current signs will begin immediately and continue throughout the city three different zones. Zone 1 bounded by Chartres/Commerce/Austin/Pierce, Zone 2 bounded by Austin/Commerce/Bagby/Lamar/ and Zone 3 bounded by Austin/Lamar/Bagby/Pierce
The project will cost about 1.5 million, and work will be performed by DPW and a private contractor.
Completion is expected summer 2014.