Parking signs across the United States number in the millions, and even mid-size cities have variations that number in the hundreds. Best friend or worst enemy, parking regulation signs are found in every state and country in the world. My own experience is that most often they just don’t let me park where or when I really wish to park.
I am disturbed by a segment of our industry that has attached the label “non-regulated” to this type of signage, tossing aside requirements for color and durability that we all know to be standard for other signs like STOP, WRONG WAY, and DO NOT ENTER. An argument can be made that this class of sign is not particularly critical - but try that argument with local parking enforcement next time you see a ticket pinned under your wiper blade.
Their design isn’t just haphazard. Known as R7 series, their design is detailed in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), our industry bible. Leeway is granted for variations in messaging covering restrictions for both parking or standing, days of the week, hours of the day, and reserved handicap locations. The MUTCD also requires these signs to be “visible both day and night by means of retroreflective sheeting.” Further, parking signs should be installed on compliant sign posts at locations and sign heights prescribed in the MUTCD. When all's said and done, one has to face the fact that a parking sign is a traffic control sign - and regulated!
With millions of parking signs in circulation - many being purchased via government bidding, it’s no surprise that competition for contracts is highly competitive - with low bid often the rule of the day. While there is pressure to produce them quick, fast and cheap, what a public agency ultimately receives may be a direct reflection of their procurement specification. It is important to understand that signs using the wrong materials may not only fail to perform visually, but may age prematurely, forcing the agency into a costly replacement cycle much sooner than expected.
Parking regulation signs are one of the most tempting targets for digital printing due to the wide variety of messaging - particularly around days and times. Digital printing is a great production solution for this class of sign - subject to the print platform being designed and operated to print within the parameters of a proper performance specification. The good news is that the number of traffic sign fabricators with the proper digital print equipment continues to grow. But the bad news is compliant systems are still far outnumbered by commercial graphics industry printers, not designed for this type of sign production (learn more about imposters here). As a buyer, you must be informed.
With more than 300 TrafficJet™ digital print systems around the world, we’re the industry leaders in warranted, specification compliant traffic signs. And with a growing network of Certified Digital Traffic Converters, we can help sign fabricators confidently produce compliant signs, and assure public agencies that they are buying and installing compliant signage.
For more information on digital traffic sign printing, visit us on the web, or request a free sample sign here.
To learn more about our Reflective Solutions, visit us at: reflectives.averydennison.com.
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