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Can't understand the parking sign? There's an app for that ...

If you live in New York City and own a car then you have more than likely taken part in the ritual of trying to decipher some of the signs outlining the city's arcane parking regulations. Sometimes you may have guessed right, while other times your powers of deduction may have failed you, resulting in an unwanted parking ticket/traffic violation.

While you may think the problem of virtually indecipherable parking signs is perhaps limited to only a few areas of the city, guess again. In fact, 26 City Council members introduced a measure last month that would command the Department of Transportation (DOT) to form a task force to review the city's parking signs to determine whether they are in need of some serious language revisions.

In the meantime, some enterprising computer experts have taken matters into their own hands by creating a new app for the iPhone called "Can I Park Here?"

The app -- which is currently selling for $1.99 -- is designed to translate NYC parking signs for flummoxed motorists and let them know whether they can or can't park in a particular location.

Specifically, a motorist opens the app and takes a picture of the parking sign. The app then provides the following information:

  • If you can park there
  • How long you can park there
  • What side of the street you need to park on (if applicable)

In the event you decide to take the parking spot, the app will then tell you:

  • How much time you have left to park in the spot legally
  • The location of the spot so you can find your way back

Reviewers have given the app fairly good reviews, but note that it is sometimes limited because it relies on the iPhone's GPS function which can be hard to pinpoint. The creators of the app are already planning to address this shortcoming in the next version of the app, tentatively scheduled to be released next month.

What are your thoughts on this idea? A good way to avoid a parking ticket?

Stay tuned for further developments from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The New York Times, "Sign says What? Park at your peril" Jan. 20, 2012

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