Though I haven’t noticed them out in the “wild” of downtown Austin just yet, council informs us they are in the process of installing 44 signs directing drivers where they can park. The idea is that if you can lead a horse to water it will drink it, instead of circling the city crapping everywhere until it finds water on its own. [That’s the best metaphor I can muster.] From the letter…
“On behalf of the City of Austin, the Transportation Department is currently in the process of installing 44 parking signs in the downtown area to help direct drivers to additional off-street parking spaces quickly. These signs will be in place as the City proceeds with a larger scale permanent “wayfinding” system.
These signs will be seen along major roadways leading to public parking facilities downtown and at City facilities including the Parmer Events Center, One Texas Center, and City Hall.
Wayfinding is a comprehensive signage system in a standardized format that clearly communicates the location of parking and various destinations to all types of travelers – auto, bicycle, and pedestrian.
A fully integrated wayfinding system will include directional signs leading to area public parking facilities, downtown districts, and major area destinations. Future signage will also include electronic message boards that will provide real-time parking facility information on rates and available parking spaces, as well as road closure and detour information during special events.
The goal of this project is assist visitors to easily and quickly find downtown parking facilities. Additionally, a wayfinding system will help to reduce vehicle miles traveled and extraneous traffic circulation.
Currently, downtown off-street parking is underutilized, with the highest usage at 26% weekdays and 66% weekends, due to a lack of clear directional signage showing drivers where parking facilities are located.
In conjunction with this effort, the City recently produced a downtown map highlighting area parking facilities and is working to create a prototype Smartphone application using this map so that drivers may search for parking spaces in their desired area. The static map can currently be viewed on the City’s website at:
With the rollout of the full wayfinding system the City will be looking to the private sector to publicize parking data and availability in real time. The future more enhanced wayfinding system will be paid for by using a portion of revenue generated from the extended hours from the parking meters. The interim wayfinding system is being paid for out of current parking meter revenue.”