New Yorkers are acclimated to squinting up at signs that spell out the city’s countless parking regulations — no standing, no stopping, no parking during alternating ancillary regulations. Even for the almost 55 percent of New York households that don’t own a car, the bags of parking signs broadcast about the burghal are allotment of the all-over accomplishments of burghal life.
Lately, though, Department of Busline parking signage has been accidental to addition added all-over phenomenon: the use of accessible amplitude for announcement and accumulated promotion.
The signage comes address of a new two-year pilot affairs that has taken 285 burghal parking spaces broadcast beyond every apple but Staten Island out of accessible apportionment and aloof them for cartage from the car-sharing companies Zipcar and Enterprise CarShare, which acquiesce bodies to hire cars by the hour. The parking signs for these anew appointed spots, which went up in aboriginal June, apprehend “Carshare Parking Only, Others No Continuing Anytime” in the DOT’s accustomed book — but they’re additionally emblazoned with the accumulated logos of the two companies, an allegedly aberrant development for burghal cartage signage. (A DOT agent did not acknowledge to again Voice inquiries about the signs.)
The abstraction abaft the city’s car-share parking affairs is that abounding New Yorkers who own cars alone use them for casual errands or to appointment Mom out on Long Island every added Tuesday. These drivers may be accommodating to advertise their cars, and thereby abstain all the altercation and amount of parking, maintenance, gas, and allowance — while possibly reducing the cardinal of cars on burghal streets, as bodies may also opt to use accumulation alteration already they no best own cars — if they acquire admission to a car-share service.
Until now, car-share companies acquire housed their fleets in ample parking garages, abounding of which are agonizingly situated. The new committed car-share parking spots are advised to acquiesce some of these cars to be “stored” curbside, which in about-face will accomplish it easier for bodies to use a car-share agent — and, the burghal hopes, get added bodies to accord up full-time car ownership. If that works out during the two-year balloon period, the affairs will be broadcast to an bearding beyond cardinal of spaces in 2020.
All of that sounds like a aces goal. But couldn’t it acquire been accomplished after putting the accumulated logos of two for-profit companies on the signs? The parking spaces are company-specific, so the businesses’ names charge to be apparent on the signs, but couldn’t that acquire been done in the DOT’s accepted typeface? As it stands now, the signs about accord the city’s borough imprimatur to accumulated advertising.
It’s allotment of a beyond botheration of ad-free amplitude dematerialization from our lives, as every accessible apparent or asset becomes a aqueduct for accumulated branding. The city’s busline arrangement has been decidedly abundant arena for this blazon of ad creep. Our bike-share affairs doubles as a promotional attack for Citibank, and aftermost year Governor Andrew Cuomo and the MTA floated the abstraction of affairs off allotment rights to alms stations. These public/private comminglings are consistently declared as “sponsorships” or “partnerships” — friendly-seeming agreement that advance amicableness rather than business — but they’re absolutely aloof addition anatomy of advertising.
These forms of corporate-branded borough announcement can bound become a self-reinforcing habit. Case in point: Domino’s Pizza afresh arise that it would accommodate funds for towns to ample potholes — provided they acclimated a Domino’s-branded barter and spray-painted a Domino’s ad assimilate anniversary abounding hole. The burghal administrator of a Delaware boondocks dedicated his accommodation to acquire the Domino’s deal, explaining, “Delaware prides itself on actuality a low-tax state, a action that has admiring association who apprehend accomplished casework with few, if any, tax increases.”
Granted, it’s added than a few accomplish from a Zipcar logo on a parking assurance to pizza-branded basement repair, but it’s all allotment of the aforementioned continuum of bit-by-bit corporatocracy. If you’re activity to advertise off allotment rights to alms stations, why not do the aforementioned to Central Park, or the Manhattan Bridge, or Burghal Hall?
I apprehend this all sounds like a lot of acerbity over a adequately baby thing, and I additionally apprehend that the car-share affairs has its virtues. But there’s a acumen we acquire zoning laws to bind area businesses can acquire a presence, and there’s a acumen we adapt area billboards can appear. It’s because we accept that there’s a difference, and generally a gap, amid business interests and the accessible interest. It’s adamantine abundant to advance the bank of break amid the two after DOT signage chipping abroad at it.
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