“After living in DC for 18 years this is the most confusing parking sign I’ve seen yet”

by Prince Of Petworth July 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm 54 Comments


Ed. Note: Now it may have been because I drank a giant bottle of cider but I just couldn’t stop laughing when looking at the bottom sign.

OP writes:

“After living in DC for 18 years this is the most confusing parking sign I’ve seen yet. On K Street.”

This was DPW’s response:

The signs means that after 6:30 pm you may pay to park for more than 2 hours (you can pay for the remaining 3 1/2 hours, during day time hours you can only park on those particular meters for two hours. The signs let citizens know that the meters are still in effect until 10 pm but you do not have to pay after 10:00pm

“…which still doesn’t make sense to me, as the “Loading Zone” sign states that there is no day time parking.”

  • textdoc

    +1 to “still doesn’t make sense to me, as the ‘Loading Zone’ sign states that there is no day time parking.” (Except on weekends.)
    I thought DDOT did the signs and DPW did the enforcement. No?

  • Bloomy

    The bottom still seems ambiguous at best – if I arrive and park at 7:30am on a Monday, am I allowed to park for 2 or 3.5 hours?

    • siz

      you can never park there at 7:30am on a monday, since it’s in the loading zone timeframe.

      • Bloomy

        Don’t assume I’m not in my commercial vehicle… can my delivery take 3 hours?

    • ah

      Yeah, the bottom sign alone is filled with inconsistencies, even without the loading zone business.

  • FridayGirl

    Not only the loading sign… but the sign says “6:30am” not “6:30pm” so I am also very confused and I don’t know what DPW is talking about. I wouldn’t park there.
    Was the top of the second sign supposed to be 6:30pm-10pm 3.5 hour parking? 2 hour parking Saturday only?

    • siz

      no, 6:30am is correct. the loading zone starts at 7:00am. you can park here, on weekdays, from 6:30am-7:00am as long as you pay.

  • ParkViewneighbor

    Damn immigrants, getting a free pass again !

    • Farragut

      I think they’re using the other definition of “citizen,” meaning someone who lives in the city.

      • I Dont Get It

        Oh so only DC residents get the decoder ring for this?

  • It’s a Trap! #ackbar

  • stacksp

    Parkmobile enabled areas will only allow you to pay when during the correct parking times.

    • ah

      Yeah, but what does it allow here?

    • Sr

      That is not true. I’ve seen signs that allow parking at 6pm, but parkmobile won’t let you start paying till 6:30PM

  • Bloom

    The explanation is even more confusing than the sign

  • SWDC

    I like how no one noticed the motorcycle parked on the sidewalk.

    • stacksp

      Personally, I didnt know that it was something wrong with that

  • above7-11

    It means you are getting a ticket if you park there and no explanation will get you out of it!

    • textdoc

      Actual LOL.

  • siz

    eh, takes a minute but i think what this means is that you can never park there during the loading zone hours. fine. looks like you would have to pay between 6:30am and 7:00am which is weird because most parking signs in the city seem to start at 7, but whatever. after the loading zone time ends, at 6:30, you have to pay to park for the remaining 3.5 hours, until 10pm. saturday you CAN park there during the day, it’s outside of the loading zone time, but you have to pay from 7am to 10pm.

    • siz

      it would certainly be helpful if there could be more specific signs for more specific situations, ie a sign that says 3.5 hour parking after 6:30pm on weekdays (outside loading hours, but of course that would leave out the fact that you have to pay to park in this spot from 6:30-7:00am on weekdays, which is itself kind of dumb) and then 2 hour parking on saturdays. but i’d imagine no one’s eager to make specific signs for specific situations, so you get this mess. i just spent way too long thinking about this.

    • Truxton Thomas


    • I Dont Get It

      Are you seeing anyone? I’m somewhat oddly attracted to you now.

      • OP Anon

        This is definitely a life skill that would impress me on an online dating profile. I’m also slightly aroused by this person’s Spock-like logic.

        • siz

          haha, why thank you. i’m very impressive.

    • ah

      So that would be a reasonable assessment of what is actually intended, but it’s not at all what the signs say.

      The green parking sign should be changed so there’s 3.5 hour parking from 6:30*pm*-10pm M-F and 2 hour parking on Saturdays only.

      • FridayGirl

        Yup, that’s what I said up above. I think that’s what was intended but not what was written.

      • siz

        yeah i repeated this above, but 6:30am is correct. the loading zone starts at 7:00am. you can park here, on weekdays, from 6:30am-7:00am as long as you pay.

  • Suse

    My head hurts.

  • I Dont Get It


    No Parking

  • Mike

    It means “Never Park Here.”

  • MtP

    Usually I can make sense of these signs, but this one is without a doubt wrong and is insane. First, the commercial parking sign conflicts with the ones below it. I believe maybe the 3.5 hour sign is supposed to say 6:30PM, not AM, which would help *a little,* but then the 2 hour sign should end at 6:30PM – meaning 2 hour parking until 6:30 and then you can park from 6:30pm-10pm (3.5 hours). This STILL wouldn’t mean what DPW says, b/c the sign would still indicate you have to pay until 10pm. What a mess.

    • textdoc

      And I’m still wondering what I was asking above — isn’t it DDOT that’s in charge of the signs, and DPW that’s in charge of enforcement? If so, I wonder what explanation DDOT could possibly have for all of the contradictions within and among the signs.

  • NH Ave Hiker

    Reminds me of that Louis CK sketch.


  • redraiderdc

    Male announcer:
    The red zone has always been for loading and unloading of passengers. There’s never stopping in a white zone.
    Female announcer:
    Don’t you tell me which zone is for loading, and which zone is for stopping!
    Male announcer:
    Listen Betty, don’t start up with your white zone sh*t again.

  • Charlie Bengel

    We are going to attempt to get these signs clarified.

    – Charlie Bengel, ANC 2F

    • anon

      They can’t BE clarified, unless you change the time/space continuum and the meaning of English. They need to be replaced.

  • Mug of Glop

    I’d guess that the bottom sign has the arrow pointed the wrong way. There are a few pairs of signs, albeit simpler ones, scattered about at least Logan Circle, Columbia Heights, and Park View, where I’ve had extensive parking experience.

    • anon

      I think you are right – as I often park for free in the evening were the commercial parking signs are, as there seem to be no green signs saying non-commercial vehicles have to pay then in many places. Whether this lack of signage is an oversight, I don’t know, but I love it when I come across it.
      But, either way the green sign is supposed to point, it is inconsistent in itself. I think we can all agree that the 3 1/2 hours is supposed to be from 6:30 PM rather than AM, that the 2 hour parking should say from whatever time parking payment starts until 6:30 PM from M-F, and from whatever time parking starts until 10 PM on Sat (though I have not noticed that evening parking reverts to 2 hours from 3 1/2 hours usually on Sat evenings, and I do park on K St. frequently, but maybe I’ve missed that), and that having a discrepancy between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. staring time is dumb and confusing in any event.
      What is sad is that we pay salaries to multiple people whose job it is to approve these signs, before our tax money is spent printing and installing them – can’t we hire people with basic reading comprehension and computing skills?

    • bents

      OP here – sadly not. If you reversed the arrow on the bottom sign it would be pointing to the corner of a block/intersection.

  • bruno

    It was a long time before I realized with these signs that red meas STOP (something you cannot do/non-permissable) and green means GO (something you can do/permissible).

  • JoDa

    I think you missed an opportunity for a url here. Not sure what it is, but I looked expecting a haha and there wasn’t one.

    Clearly this needs 2 signs:
    Pay to park 6:30-7 AM
    Loading zone/permit or pay 7 AM – 6:30 PM
    Pay to park 6:30 -10 PM (don’t need to mention the limit since it’s the same as the full amount of time you can park)

    Pay to park 7 AM – 10 PM 2 hour limit

    Or this:


    • textdoc

      HAHAHAHA! That first photo made me LOL.

  • bruno

    Looks like a long way of saying: You cannot park for 3 1/2 hours on Saturday (only for 2 hours) but at all other times you can park for up to 3 1/2 hours. Not quite sure about the 6:30AM starting time vs 7:00am.

    • bruno

      Except that you can only make even segments of 3 1/2 hours by starting at 6:30 instead of at 7?

  • spookiness

    Aside from understanding it, its simply a bad case of sign pollution. There are 5 signs in the photo on 2 posts and it could be condensed to 2 signs if it was designed properly.

  • Sr

    Here is my take on what it says
    Loading parking for 2 hr between 7am- 6:30pm M-F (and they could add 30mins on to the 2hrs if they get there by 6:30)
    All other parking is the following: 2 hr between 6:30pm-10pm or M-F and from 7am-10pm on Sat, additionally, you M-F you have to pay to park between 6:30am and 7am.

    If you try to park for 3 1/2 hours at any time 7am – 10pm M-S, you probably will get a ticket. That part of the sign is just bait for people who are to lazy to read the whole sign and stay over 2 hours.

  • Alan

    Park from 6:30am-7:00am or from 6:30pm-10:00pm. Parking is free there after 10pm. Seems easy to me. But I’ve lived here longer than the OP. Shrug.

  • Sydney

    Nice to see that motorcycle parked on the sidewalk, taking up a space at a bicycle rack. Illegal.

  • Grand Pa of DC

    This is typical of the Dumb College of Titanothere. They could not figure out the beginning and end of this sign
    and they expect you to understand it.

  • Mike

    Was the sign supposed to say 3.5 hours 6:30 PM to 10:00 because that’s the only way that makes sense…

  • John

    Parkmobile let me renew my parking into rush hour traffic lane times. Wonderful to pay for the privilege of getting a ticket.

  • anon

    Parkmobile is full of errors – drives me nuts. It shouldn’t be that hard to program it correctly.
    On the other hand, I was happy to see when parking downtown at 5:30 last night for over two hours that it let me do that with one call – I was expecting, as usual, to be able to pay only until 6:30, because it would only take up to 6:30, and then having to call later from my event at 6:30 to pay for the evening hours. That always infuriated me – it seems to me that if you park after 4:30, you should be able to pay into the evening, as the 2 hour restriction is lifted at 6:30. But I guess parkmobile made more money that way, as you’d have to pay the initial call fee twice.


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