Reading Common Signs
Skip to main content Skip to navigation Skip to footer

Reading Common Signs

Throughout the city, you will notice signs that give you important information about the law, warn you about areas to avoid and help you find your way. Signs use different symbols, colours and shapes for easy identification. These signs also give a direction that must be obeyed. They are usually rectangular or square with a white or coloured background with white or coloured letters. A sign with a green circle means you may or must do the activity shown inside the ring. A red circle with a line through it means the activity shown is not allowed

 Cluster of regulatory parking signs

How to Read Signs

When reading signs within City of Windsor boundaries, on street (located on a light/hydro pole, stanchion or meters) or off street (municipal lots or parking garages), you need to do the following:

  • Read signs from top to bottom - Some poles may have multiple signs attached to them, so make sure you read from top sign to the bottom and pay attention to the directional arrows at the bottom of each sign.
  • Arrows - Pay attention to directional arrows (black arrows in bottom corners). If there is a black arrow pointing away from your vehicle, make sure that no portion of your vehicle is with in the restricted area, or you will be subject to a penalty notice (parking ticket). 
  • Location of signs - Signs may be located in front of or behind your vehicle. These signs may not be close to your vehicle but have an arrow pointing in the direction of your vehicle, which means the sign applies to that location.
  • Times, days and months - Some signs are only applicable during certain times, days and months. Make sure you read the sign.
  • Angle of the sign is in the direction of flow of traffic - This is done for easy reading when driving. When the sign has directional arrows (usually at bottom of sign), it refers to the same side of the street the sign is on.

Examples of Multiple Signs and How to Read Them

Example #1 - When viewing the sign below, it reads like this:

  1. "No Parking" to the left of this stanchion/pole.
  2. "No Parking" to the right of this stanchion/pole during the months of January, February, March, May, July, September, November or December.
  3. "Accessible Permit Parking Only" to the right of this stanchion/pole during the months of April, June, August and October. Usually there are two signs that point back at each other to indicate one Accessible Parking space.
Three parking signs as detailed above 
 
Example #2 - When viewing the sign below, it reads like this:
  1. Square Green Reflector means this is a Transit Windsor bus stop, and the reflector is an indicator for the bus drivers.
  2. "No Stopping" to the right of this stanchion/pole with the exception of Transit Windsor buses.
  3. "No Parking" to the left of this stanchion/pole during the months of January, February, March, May, July, September, November or December.
  4. Transit Windsor Bus Stop Sign - This sign indicates what bus stops at this location, as well as any updates to the route in the blank space when required.

 Bus and parking signs as detailed above

 
Example #3 -  When viewing the sign below, it reads like this:
  1. "No Parking" on either sides of this stanchion/pole during the months of April, June, August and October.
  2. "2 Hour Limit Parking" to the left of this stanchion/pole during the hours of 9am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday during the months of January, February, March, May, July, September, November or December.
  3. "15 Minute Limit Parking" to the right of this stanchion/pole during the hours of 9am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday during the months of January, February, March, May, July, September, November or December.
 Parking signs as detailed above

 

Common Signage Around The City and What They Mean:

School bus loading zone sign

School Bus Loading Zone: Marks a zone within which school buses load or unload passengers without using the red alternating lights and stop arm. This signage usually has another sign at the other end of the "School Bus Loading Zone" with an arrow pointing back at the sign to symbolize the area.

No stopping sign
** No Stopping:  Do not stop in the area between the signs. This means stopping even for a moment or to drop off passengers or goods is prohibited except when directed by a police officer. (These signs are used in pairs or groups.)
 
No parking sign
** No Parking: Do not park in the area between the signs. This means you are prohibited even when the vehicle is occupied unless you are actively engaged in loading or unloading merchandise or passengers. Drivers are not allowed to wait for their passenger while in a "no parking zone." (These signs are used in pairs or groups.)

 Accessible parking sign
Accessible Parking Sign: This parking space is only for vehicles displaying a valid Accessible Parking Permit. If you have received an Accessible Permit from Service Ontario, it is your responsibility to make sure it is displayed correctly (meaning all four corners and text within permit is visible from the outside of the vehicle). Also, you need to remember this permit is for you and can be used in any vehicle. If you use a loved ones vehicle and they park in a designated location without you with them, this is considered misuse and you will be issued a penalty notice (parking ticket). Please see our Accessible Parking page for additional information. See tips on how to display your Accessible Parking permit correctly.

Fire Route Sign
Fire Route Sign: This sign means, that only emergency vehicles are allowed to park there. Fire Routes are usually located around entire exterior of buildings. Drivers or passengers are not allowed to be parked in this area even for a short time. This includes loading or unloading items in to your vehicle, as this must be done in a designated loading zone or a regular space within the parking lot. 

** Please note the direction of the black arrows at the bottom of most traffic signs as the arrows indicate the direction to which the sign applies. These black arrows are to be adhered to until the next sign indicates differently. Signs are not broken up by driveways.

For other signs and what they mean, please visit the Ontario Driver's Handbook for Regulatory Traffic Signs.


For questions or more information, please contact:

Parking Enforcement Office
1266 McDougall Street
Windsor, Ontario
Canada
N8X 3M7
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday - 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Phone: For general information, call 311. For detailed inquiries, call (519) 255-6298, email parkingenforcement@citywindsor.ca or fax (519) 255-9467