Most people give little thought to the way they park their cars. It seems to make sense that parking spaces are angled for drivers to pull forward into them. That’s the way it has always been done. Could we really have been parking the wrong direction for all these years?
According to city planners in several states, the answer is yes. A new trend of back-in angled parking is beginning to take hold. Kansas City, Missouri recently joined a growing list of cities to adopt reverse-angle parking including: Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu.
The new parking design is in place on the west side of McGee Street in between 17th Street and 20th Street. If drivers want to park they stop in the traffic lane, and back up into a parking spot. Signs aid drivers explaining, “It’s as easy as 1-2-3. Signal, Stop, Reverse.”
Benefits of Back-in Parking
Why the change? The main reason is safety. A frequent cause of car accidents is drivers backing out of conventional parking spaces which prevent them from having a clear view of on-coming traffic.
Reverse-angle parking enables drivers to pull out of spaces facing traffic. Oncoming cars, cyclists and pedestrians are easily visible. In particular, biking groups have been advocates of back-in parking to prevent car and bicycle accidents.
Those loading the rear of their cars remain safely on the sidewalk, instead of standing on the street. Additionally, open doors direct children away from the line of traffic.
Back-in parking also increases parking spaces. “Why it took so long for us to figure out that this way is better, I don’t know,” stated Dennis Gagnon, Kansas City’s public works department’s spokesman.
Drivers could cross over traffic and pull forward into spaces, but they would then face the possibility of backing up into on-coming traffic. Police will also soon begin ticketing vehicles that do not back into designated parking spaces.
Reverse-angle parking will likely be expanded to other areas of the city in the near future.