City of Winnipeg test driving new parking signage in Exchange District

The City of Winnipeg is testing out new signage in the Exchange District in an effort to help people more easily understand when and where they can park.

The new signs, which are part of a pilot project, have been installed on existing signposts on parts of Bannatyne Avenue, King Street and Arthur Street.

They feature a colour-coded timetable that outlines which parking prohibitions are in effect for that part of the street for specific times of the day. 

The city wants to see if it can improve the parking experience in the Exchange District by reducing the uncertainty that people have around where they can park, and when, says the Winnipeg Parking Authority’s program manager.

The city has no plans to replace the old parking signs that people are used to seeing, said Ajaleigh Williams. Rather, the new signs are meant to complement the old ones.

The intent, she says, is “to reduce the amount of time to pull up, to circle the block … find their parking spot, and just try to reduce that uncertainty that people have on when and where they can park.”

The new parking guides, right, versus the regular parking signs. (Submitted by City of Winnipeg)

If the pilot goes well, the signs may be used in other parts of the city, she said. 

The city is currently gathering feedback from people using a QR code that can be scanned on a cellphone, which takes you to an online survey. You can also call the city’s 311 line with feedback.

Reviews from the handful of residents CBC spoke with were mixed, with some saying they understood the signs clearly and others saying they were hard to read. 

Meanwhile, some have taken to Twitter with their feedback:

Daniel McCafferty, an assistant professor in the school of art at the University of Manitoba who has worked on public signage projects in the past, said he thinks the design could use some improvements to make it easier to understand. 

For one, the typography explaining the logos and colour guide is too small, he said, and the portion in red at the bottom of the sign — indicating where no stopping is allowed at any time — should be at the top. 

“It doesn’t help with the understanding of what it is that we’re supposed to read first or what’s most important,” he said. 

The fact that the sign itself is crammed with information also doesn’t help, he said. 

“So I find that when you’re trying to look at it, your eyes are jumping around all over the place, trying to make sure that you’re not missing any information,” he said. 

The parking authority’s Williams says the city wants to hear feedback from people, good or bad, and has been paying attention to the conversation on Twitter about the signs. 

“We’re certainly happy to hear people talking. That was the purpose of this pilot, was really to get feedback,” she said.

The city will be accepting feedback until July 31. 

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