Shining a light

Our local shopping centre (quite large, well supermarketed and fashion boutiqued, bookshops, pharmacies, wine cellars and all that) has a lighting scheme for its underground carparks. Each park has a light above it, which shows green if the space is available, and red if it is taken. So you can drive in and spot where there’s an empty space without too much trouble (unless of course, you have a different colour perception range than the norm). Miss Ten delights in spotting both false negatives and false positives. It’s called “smart” parking.

But there are different coloured lights for some car parks. The lights always show red if the park is occupied (except for the false negative problem) but the parks for people with disabilities who use an access parking card show blue when they are not occupied. Blue seems to be a recognised colour for signalling accessibility parking, ‘though I couldn’t find any regulations to that effect.

But guess what colour they used to signal a vacant “Parents with prams and buggies and babies and toddlers” park? Go on! Take a wild guess, right now, before reading on.

Okay. Made your guess?

The answer is below the fold, and a few spaces down (to give people using feed readers a chance to make an unbiased (hah!) guess).


Because if it’s prams and buggies and babies and toddlers, it must be mummies, and mummies must always be pink, of course.

Stereotypes are so much fun.


13 responses to “Shining a light

  1. And we’re blue because we’re permanently unhappy, or expected to be!

    Or maybe cyanosed.

  2. Have been to that supermarket. Its a rather cool concept. The other problem with the pink light is that from a distance it looks too much like the red ones.

    Talking about gendered stereotypes, the last time I took my daughter to the hospital. although I was the one who brought her in they wanted her mother’s mobile phone number as the primary contact.

  3. Wouldn’t a pink light be constantly mixed up with the red ones? That just doesn’t make any sense!

    We have a similar car park in a shopping centre here, but it’s just red or green, there’s a whole bay of accessible spaces which are marked in the space with the wheelchair symbol, and I’ve not seen parent-and-child parking there actually.

  4. So surely it must be the “parents with prams and buggies and babies and toddlers – or homosexuals” park.

  5. See, that’s the thing about living in the western suburbs, we never see cool stuff like that, or if we do it’s only years and years later. My local (huge) Coles won’t even let me order groceries online and deliver them if I’m sick yet.

  6. Pink parks. Love it. Giovanni’s right – queers should claim them and argue that they quite reasonably thought that was who they were reserved for. If I were there I would try that out. There is an underground car park with this system in Sydney (QVB for locals), but I haven’t noticed either pink or blue lights, only the red and green.

  7. Very odd – my local shopping centre (Richmond, Victoria) uses blue for disabled spaces, and yellow for pram spaces. Yellow would make much more sense for the lights!

  8. The pink parks are for pasty waxen fore-headed poets to park their Brougham in while wafting a perfumy wrist in the public’s vague direction.

  9. We have those lights in our closest big shopping centre but I’ve only noticed green, blue and red, possibly because I usually go in the express entrance to the roof and head straight for the always empty spots and don’t bother cruising around the close to the entrances spots. Must go and see what they’ve done with the pram spaces.

  10. Speaking of accessibility, red and green are probably more likely to be mixed up than pink and red – about 4-5% of the population will be able to discern no difference at all.

  11. I recall a girl in my class in my sixth form at school (now year 12 in NZ, year 11 in Australia, about the second last year of secondary education), who found out in science class that she could not perceive the same difference between red and green that everyone else in the class could. It’s a little unusual for a girl to have this different colour perception – it tends to manifest in men more than women, I think because it is recessive. She took the various test sheets home, and it turned out that a number of her family members had the same sort of perception as she did.

    I know that people who have difficulty perceiving a difference between red and green can usually manage with traffic lights due to standard positioning (red at the top, green at the bottom, and orange in between), but these lights in the shopping centre seem to be just specialised bulbs, and to my eye, the red or green comes from exactly the same position in the bulb. In any case, they are very small, so it would be hard to discern a difference in position from any distance.

    So yes, a fail from the point of view of improving the car-park search for people who have a non-standard colour perception range. It’s useful for people who perceive the difference between red and green/blue/pink, but not otherwise.

  12. What about the pink parks for homosexuals with prams/toddlers?! I love that idea – so much less competition!

  13. I know this is a bit late, but Deborah, it’s because the *most common type* of colourblindness is recessive and on the X chromosome. There are other types that aren’t located on the X I believe.