What is this symbol on a Seattle parking sign?
June 19, 2011 10:06 PM   Subscribe

What is this symbol that has been posted on parking signs all over Seattle?

A few years ago, the city of Seattle replaced its old-school parking meters with a single pay station on each block. There are two or three signs per block that say "Pay to Park" and point toward the pay station. On these signs there is (or was) a blue circle with a white "P" in the middle, presumably standing for "Parking".

Over the past several months, I've noticed that the "P" has been replaced on many signs with a symbol (see link above) I don't recognize. It's a sticker that someone has placed on the sign with the blue background perfectly matched. (Ignore the white sticker next to the word "pay", I'm talking about the symbol in the blue circle.) I've seen this on dozens if not hundreds of signs all over Ballard, the U District, Capitol Hill, and Downtown, and those are just the areas I go to most frequently.

Does anyone know what this symbol means and why someone has put it up all over town? Does it appear anywhere else?
posted by five toed sloth to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Upside-down pound sign?
posted by Nomyte at 10:36 PM on June 19, 2011

Looks kind of like a backwards
Euro sign to me.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:02 PM on June 19, 2011

Looks like a stylized, connected-up "f" and "u" stuck on upside-down.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:06 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Reverse epsilon? Cyrillic small e? See.
posted by gingerest at 11:13 PM on June 19, 2011

This (Э) might be it.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:20 PM on June 19, 2011

I don't know but I'd guess it's some kind of e-parking symbol so that you can buy your tickets with your mobile phone.
posted by devnull at 1:14 AM on June 20, 2011

I was looking on the Seattle parking website earlier and couldn't find this as a logo. They have an e-parking logo but this isn't it.

If it's some sort of underground movement (which I suspect) they chose a poor logo. Not google-able and its meaning is not readily apparent :(
posted by sbutler at 1:23 AM on June 20, 2011

Looks like graffiti to me.

Before I clicked on the pic link I was thinking you were talking about chicken kid's "faces." I see those things EVERYWHERE
posted by victory_laser at 2:17 AM on June 20, 2011

My initial reaction was to see it as a form of the IPA letter Eng (ŋ), but eng doesn't take a crossbar that I know of—and what would it mean? Is it used prominently in Salish?

Perhaps, as Sys Req suggests, it's conjoined letters... if the others you've seen are all in this same orientation, though, then it's probably not "f-u" but "n-j," whatever that means outside of the Garden State (also, worst logo ever).

Screwy reinterpretation of the currency symbol for new sheqalim?

Tried feeding your image to Google and it identified it as "capitol hill seattle," but that's because it knows the signs from this: http://seattlecapitolhill.tumblr.com/post/903426863.

I'll follow this with interest.
posted by mumkin at 2:58 AM on June 20, 2011

I think SysRq's first idea is correct. Turn it upside down and it does look exactly like an 'f' on top of a 'u'. I bet this is somebody's protest against being asked to pay for parking. Or somebody who hates having to walk to the end of the block to do so, instead of having a convenient parking meter located right at the parking spot.
posted by marsha56 at 6:44 AM on June 20, 2011

Sys Rq: Looks like a stylized, connected-up "f" and "u" stuck on upside-down.

Yes, and it looks like a sticker that is too small to cover up the actual sign (you can see what may be the leg of a blue P behind the sticker).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:59 AM on June 20, 2011

I see an "n J." It could be an attempt at viral marketing for a local band.
posted by Busoni at 9:11 AM on June 20, 2011

Best answer: It could be an attempt at viral marketing for a local band.

Yep. It's a sticker for Nefarious Jones.
posted by mumkin at 12:40 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Huh. The Stranger page that I linked to above had a picture of the sticker logo in the photos column, five toed sloth... and now suddenly it's no longer there.

This wasn't some kind of memetic scavenger hunt test, was it?
posted by mumkin at 2:48 PM on June 23, 2011

(FWIW, the nJ logo can also be seen as the cover art for their Blade of Grass track on MySpace.)
posted by mumkin at 2:54 PM on June 23, 2011

Um. Weirder still, it was the cover art for that track when I linked to it earlier this afternoon. It has since been replaced with the image of the roadrunner.
posted by mumkin at 10:46 PM on June 23, 2011

Response by poster: Weird. I saw the logo on that page, was disappointed that the answer to the mystery turned out to be a crappy bar band, and moved on. Now it does appear that they are purging the logo from their public image (although it's still on one post off their Facebook wall). Why? Perhaps they fear the stern gaze of Metafilter. That's a plate of beans for another day.

Great detective work, though. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
posted by five toed sloth at 5:12 AM on June 27, 2011

« Older What to do in South Seattle?   |   Creative Gift for someone who just had a 2nd child... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.