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Businesses posting their own parking signs on county regulated streets

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - With parking space at a premium in parts of Avalon Park, some businesses have taken it upon themselves to place signs limiting the time a person can park to 20 minutes. There is only one problem: The roads the businesses are trying to regulate are city streets and the signs have no legal standing. Yet, drivers seem to be following the instructions on the signs.

"I think our culture stresses that we should be obeying authority," says UCF sociology professor Dr. Elizabeth Mustaine.

Mustaine says the signs work because people inherently follow rules in situations where they expect there to be rules. She says because people are used to seeing parking signs, it doesn't matter that these signs were not issued by any government agency.

The same principle behind the “20 minute” signs also holds true for signs in parking lots for “expectant mothers” and “take out only.”  While the owner of private property has the right to tow a car, law enforcement can’t issue a ticket simply because someone parked in a spot for an “expectant mother” if they weren’t pregnant.

“If someone feels entitled and parks there and you have to search for another spot because someone doesn’t have the common courtesy to just follow the signs,” says driver Katie Lovell.

“If you see someone doing something that you don’t approve of you give them a disgusted look” says Mustaine. “So a lot of times we will behave as we’re expected to.”